Iceland’s new government puts environmental issues and global warming at the forefront

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A new government was formed in Iceland on the 30th of November after an election in October. The Left Green movement, the independence Party and the Progressive Party joined forces and formed a government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairman of the Leftist-Green Movement is Iceland’s new Prime Minister, making her the second woman to hold that position in Iceland, as well as the first ever socialist leader in the country.

In the government agreement are the environmental issues and global warming at the forefront. Iceland is guided by the goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit the average increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°C from the reference level. The main aim of the government’s climate policy is to avoid negative effects of climate change on marine life. In no other part of the world has the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic. Thus, it is incumbent upon Iceland to conduct more extensive studies of acidification of the ocean in collaboration with the academic community and the fishing industry. Iceland is moreover bound to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, based on the 1990 level, by 2030.

It is the government’s wish to go further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement and to aim to have a carbon-neutral Iceland by 2040 at the latest. The aim is to achieve this by making a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and also through changes in land use in accordance with internationally recognized standards and by incorporating approaches that take account of the local ecology and planning considerations. Support will be given to industrial sectors, individual enterprises, institutions and local authorities in their attempt to set themselves targets pertaining to climate-change.

The government aims to have all major public projects assessed in terms of their impact on the climate-policy targets. Concessions for new investment projects will be subject to the condition that the projects have been assessed in terms of their impact on climate and how they conform to Iceland’s international undertakings regarding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Emphasis will be placed on involving all players in society, and the general public, in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and support will be given to innovation in this sphere. A climate council will be established and a plan of action on emission reductions will be drawn up, with a time-scale, and financed.

The plan of action will include targets regarding transport and the proportion of vehicles powered by environmentally friendly fuels in the total number of vehicles in Iceland, utilization 22 — levels of fuel and power in business and industry, the introduction of international conventions on the protection of the oceans, ‘green steps’ in state operations and a Climate Fund, and moves will be made to prohibit the use of heavy oil in vessels within Iceland’s economic zone. Collaboration will be established with sheep farmers on neutralizing the carbon emissions from sheep farming in accordance with a plan of action. Other production sectors will also be invited to collaborate on comparable projects.

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GREBE publishes its sixth project e-zine

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The GREBE Project has published its sixth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

Since the summer, we have continued to carry out the project activities. Action Renewables published a Report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses, and the Environmental Research Institute has prepared case studies of renewable energy technologies in the partner region which can be downloaded from the GREBE website.

We studied the market access paths of renewable energy and energy storage technologies by using a case-study approach. The case studies included technology descriptions, technology demonstration and deployment issues and support systems. The case-based paths provided information on important drivers and barriers, thus providing background for the business mentoring support of the GREBE project. The Roadmap to Market report as available to download now from the project website here.

Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and we have started to roll it out in Finland, Scotland and Ireland. Details can be found on pages 8 and 9 of our e-zine.

Our e-zine can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here

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Funding of €180,000 available to support Energy Innovations

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The FREED project is inviting applications from companies to develop innovative energy technologies.  Aimed at businesses that are currently active in the Energy Technology sector, FREED are offering financial support to develop and take innovative energy technologies to commercialization.  A maximum sum of €30,000 per innovation may be made available to successful applicants as well as in-kind support offering incubation capabilities, market access and unique access to private investment. Each innovative technology selected will be promoted through the project across the partner region in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) area.

Information on each country specific tender call can be found on the FREED website below:  

Candidates are to submit technology innovation proposals, which address identified challenges in the following areas:

  • Intelligent grid (IoT): including but not restricted to smart illumination; 5G solutions; electrical and heat distribution networks; intelligent energy systems; remotely controllable loads; distributed grid management; power electronics; “virtual” power stations; demand side & control system management; upgraded power grid; solutions for zero-emission zones in smart cities; data analysis, integrated computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), decentralised and off-grid solutions
  • Energy storage: including but not restricted to advanced battery technology; energy for transport sector; thermal energy storage, hydrogen energy storage; hybrid energy storage systems, domestic and commercial scale heat recovery systems; small scale solar PV with integrated battery storage, decentralised and off-grid solutions
  • Smart and efficient buildings and environment: including but not restricted to ultra-energy efficient building management solutions and services; BMS and metering technologies; ICT solutions to encourage monitoring; smart HVAC linked to renewable energy; smart temp and humidity control for built heritage sites; energy cost reduction technology for water treatment
  • Renewable energies: including but not restricted to solar PV, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy and related supply chains inc. biomass CHP; marine and hydro renewable energy; 2nd generation biofuels; technology to increase usage of on-site renewables; advanced heat pumps, solar thermal, decentralised and off-grid solutions

A condition of being awarded the contract is that technology development and the commercial development of the output must take place in the NPA region, as defined by the European Union Interreg Programme.

FREED (Funding Resources for Innovation in Energy Enterprise Development) a three year project funded under Interregs Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA). FREED will support existing and start-up SME’s to utilise and develop innovative energy technologies as viable business offerings. The project, which is led by the University of Oulu in Finland, is a collaborative partnership involving private investment firms, R&D institutions, colleges of education and public bodies from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Norway, The United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland. For further information about FREED please visit the project website http://www.freedproject.eu/