Energy Efficiency and Entrepreneurship

AR Blog

Becoming an entrepreneur can be challenging, therefore it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Most business owners now recognise the importance of energy efficiency measures and sourcing renewable energy where possible. This is due to the cost savings these options can offer, allowing businesses to reinvest in other activities. Saving 20% on your energy bills can generate returns which are equivalent to a 5% increase in sales1.. Additionally, as consumers are becoming more environmentally aware, there are increasing expectations on suppliers, across all sectors, to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, particularly in relation to renewable energy.

A survey completed by Orsted, highlighted that 73% 2. of consumers would choose a retailer that used renewable energy over one that didn’t. Improving your reputation and becoming environmentally conscious needn’t be something that will interrupt or hinder your businesses operations – it can significantly increase your competitiveness.

Committing to renewable energy:

  • Businesses who want to commit to renewable energy can do so through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) either from an electricity supplier or direct engagement with a renewable electricity generator, in more recent times this has been referred to as a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.
  • Alternatively, a business can invest in renewable technology to generate renewable electricity, which satisfies either part or all the businesses electricity demand. On a global scale, RE100 is a collaborative initiative, which some of the world’s most influential companies have joined and committed to 100% renewable electricity. Companies who have committed to RE100 primarily adopt the methods mentioned above to ensure they achieve their targets.

With a steady uptake of ‘green procurement’, which focuses on sourcing and purchasing products and services that use fewer resources and minimises their impact on the environment, there is certainly reason to get your business ‘going green’. In Northern Ireland, the ‘Sustainable Development strategy’ recognises the importance of responsible procurement in the public sector to ensure the effective and efficient use of resources. This was developed to select suppliers who have a sound environmental standing. Therefore, with environmental awareness and targets only set to increase in the future, it stands to sense for businesses to begin exploring their options in relation to sourcing renewable energy, if they have not already done so. This will enable them to ensure business operation remains competitive.

1 https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/energy-efficiency/better-business-guide-to- energy-saving/

2 https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/176726/orsted-claim-73-of-customers-prefer-renewable-energy-retailer/

3 http://there100.org/re100

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Advice Notes on Energy Storage Economics for the NPA Region

Energy Storage

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Advice-Notes-Energy-storage-2-3.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

Some of the renewable energy resources are classified as intermittent in nature, meaning that the corresponding technologies produce electricity/heat depending on the availability of the resource. Two of the main drawbacks are the short-term variability and low predictability inherent to renewable sources. Thus, when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, the clean technologies cannot match the demand. However, when the resources are available, it is often the case that they produce more energy than required. By storing the energy produced and supplying it on demand, these technologies can continue to power the businesses even when the sun has set and the air is still, creating a continuous, reliable stream of power throughout the day. Furthermore, energy storage systems can shift consumption of electricity from expensive periods of high demand to periods of lower cost electricity during low demand.

battery storage

This can be over different timescales, from intra-day (when energy is shifted from low value to high value periods within the same 24-hour period) to inter-seasonal, where energy is stored in summer when demand is lower and used in winter when demand is greater. Contingent on elements such as a facility’s location, utility rates, and electrical load, energy storage can be an apt solution for facilities to cut energy bills. The use of energy storage can also allow greater returns on investment to be made from deployed renewable energy technologies. Storage technologies could decrease the need to invest in new conventional generation capacity, resulting in financial savings and reduced emissions especially from electricity generation. Utilisation of storage also means fewer and cheaper electricity transmission and distribution system upgrades are required.

Advice Notes on Biomass CHP Economics for the NPA Region

Biomass CHP

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Advice-Notes-biomass-chp-2.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

 

Combined heat and power (CHP) is a method that delivers both heat and power on site in a single, highly efficient process, normally over 80% efficiency. CHP creates electricity and as a by-product of the generation process it produces heat. Wood biomass is fed into the CHP system similar to a normal biomass boiler and the produced gas is then fed to an engine which is connected to a generator generating electricity while the heat produced, can be fed into a heating system. Below is a map showing the productive forest potential in relation to the total area of the country. Biomass is the world’s fourth largest energy source, contributing to nearly 14% of the world’s primary energy demand.

Small scale (<100kW) and micro-scale (<15kW) biomass CHP are particularly suitable for applications in commercial buildings, such as hospitals, schools, industrial premises, office building blocks, and domestic buildings. Optimum system design and implementation is crucial for cost-effective operation and it is established that the best economic performance come about with high load factors when the maximum amount of both electricity and heat sold on-site is maximised.Untitled

A reliable feedstock supply chain is vital for the economic viability of a CHP system. Fuel costs are central since when considering the levelled cost of electricity and heat production, ongoing running costs far outweigh capital investment. CHP systems and specifically the ones smaller in scale necessitate fuel of the highest quality and have very low moisture content, wood chip/pellets between 15% and 30% moisture content. Thus, it is imperative before considering investment in a biomass CHP system to ensure that the right fuel can be sourced locally.

Advice Notes on Hydro Technology Economics for the NPA Region

Hydro

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GREBE-Advice-Notes-Hydro.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

Hydro2

Hydropower is of the most reliable and cost-effective methods to generate electricity, as it can immediately respond to variations in electricity demand meeting both base-load and peak-load demand. The key advantage is that hydro power provides a steady and secure source of electricity supply. Furthermore, it very highly efficient (from 70 to 90%), has a long life span and attractive energy pay-back ratio. Other benefits of hydro are that it is a largely predictable resource of renewable energy (the annual generation can be predicted using historical rainfall data/catchment flow data).When considering the payback period for SHP, account should be taken of the lifespan of the system.

A general SHP project cost level is very difficult to predict as they are very project specific contingent on the local surroundings, hydro-technical constructions, turbines and electrical equipment. Small-scale hydropower uses water flowing through a turbine to drive a generator that produces electricity. The amount of a hydropower installation’s potential power output (kW) is directly related to two key variables:

Head – The vertical distance between the water level at the intake point and where the water passes through the turbine. Hydro projects can be categorized into three categories according to the existing head.

  • Low head – up to 10m
  • Medium head – 10m to 50m
  • High head – greater than 50m.

Flow rate – the volume of water flowing through the turbine per second, measured in litres/second (l/s), or cubic metres/second (m3 /s).

New scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels launched today

solarPanelsRoofInstall_large

A new scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels has been launched this morning. The pilot scheme offers grants for the installation of solar panels and extra funds to install battery storage systems.  Environment Minister Denis Naughten says the scheme will allow people to turn their home into their very own “renewable power station.” He said homeowners can save around €220 in electricity costs every year by taking advantage of the scheme.

Announcing the grants for homeowners, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD said: “Turning your home into a renewable power station is now one step closer. Microgeneration is an incredibly exciting space that will allow citizens in local communities to generate their own electricity and contribute towards Ireland’s climate action targets. With this grant that I am announcing today, a typical 3-bed semi-detached house would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and would save approximately €220 per year on their electricity bills.”

The Minister added: “The pilot scheme will be subject to a 6-month review at which time the costs of installation will be assessed and further opportunities to broaden this scheme to other groups and other technologies will be explored.” The scheme will be funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The grant is available for homes built and occupied before 2011 and details of eligibility criteria and how to apply are set out here. A registered solar PV installer must be used and a full list of registered installers is also available on the SEAI website.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/

Bioenergy is thriving in Akureyri

Electric Car

Renewable energy, including bioenergy, is thriving in the town Akureyri, in northern Iceland, with the community actively moving in the direction of carbon neutrality. The energy transition team at Orkustofnun visited Akureyri in order to look into the current status of renewable energy in transport and in utilization of biomass in the Eyjafjörður Area, northern Iceland. Orkustofnun’s branch in Akureyri was visited, and Guðmundur H. Sigurðarson, Managing Director of Vistorka, presented the company’s activities and the status of these issues including achieving carbon neutral society in Akureyri.

Several charging stations for electric cars are available for use in Akureyri and some of them where visited. The stations are owned and operated by ONNorðurorka and Rarik. Vistorka received funding from the Energy Fund for development of infrastructure for electric cars which will result in 11 electric charging stations in the North of Iceland. Most of the projects described below have been funded by the Energy Fund as well as supported by Orkusetur.

The compost company Molta was visited, where organic waste is collected from homes and companies in the Eyjafjörður Area and beyond for compost production. Production of biodiesel from animal waste is planned at the facility. The company Orkey was also visited, where biodiesel is produced from waste cooking oil. The biodiesel is used in buses in Akureyri, on fishing vessels and in asphalt production. The aim is to increase production by adding animal waste as mentioned previously. Methane is currently produced from the old landfill in Akureyri and “harnessing” of the manure in the Eyjafjörður area is on the drawing board to further increase methane production to fuel 2-3000 cars per year.

The use of electric bikes by the employees of Norðurorka is also of interest, as electric bikes are relatively inexpensive, convenient in a hilly and windy environment and use a renewable power source. In winter the bikes’ studded tyres are well suited for icy conditions as well as the on-board lighting system is important for safety in the darkness of the Arctic winter. The energy transition team at Orkustofnun has many irons in the fire these days and are gathering ideas that help accomplish Althingi’s action plan regarding energy transition. In order to meet such goals, it is clear that applying well-known and successful methods and technologies are important. Orkustofnun, Orkusjóður and Orkusetur will continue to support projects in the field of energy transition throughout the country.

 

You are invited to attend Ireland’s first Student-led Energy Summit

GalwayEnergy SummitPic2

The event will take place this Thursday at 3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUIG.

You can register for free at www.galwayenergysummit.ie

We cannot wait to see you there!!!