Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are committed to positively contributing towards the achievement of sustainable development and as such have a Sustainable Development Policy in place which is also accompanied by an annual Sustainable Development Action Plan.
Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of people today and providing them with a good quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.
It is characterised typically as achieving an optimum balance between social, environmental and economic considerations. In achieving this balance, sustainable development aims to maximise the benefits of social, environmental and economic initiatives by mitigating negative and increasing positive impacts.
By working in accordance with our Sustainable Development Policy, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will:
Consider sustainability in all its actions and decisions
Progressively integrate sustainability principles into its daily activities
Seek to increase the awareness of sustainable development generally
Ensure that where possible, council activities support the achievement of sustainable development
Strive to act as an exemplar for sustainable development, ensuring policies and actions provide a lead to the local and wider community
An open call for businesses to participate in GREBEs Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (EES) in Finland was launched in April 5th and ended in May 12th. The three companies to participate in the EES mentoring process during next autumn are Eno Energy Cooperative, Rajaforest Ltd. and Havel Ltd.
GREBE partner Karelia UAS shared information on the Finnish EES roll-out in public industry events and website. The scheme received the attention of SMEs considering renewing their business strategy and improving production development and efficiency. The selected companies are famous for long-term operation and innovation activities in forest energy.
Eno Energy Cooperative has been an example of heat entrepreneurship based on local forest raw materials. The cooperative with 54 members (mostly forest owners), was rewarded in 2014 as a Heat Entrepreneur/enterprise of the year. The cooperative is also famous as active developer in the sector, and generates significant socio-economic benefits to its surrounding region.
Rajaforest Ltd. is a forest contracting company and a heat enterprise. The company supplies timber and forest fuels, operates three municipal biomass district heating plant in Tohmajärvi, and owns and operates one in Kesälahti.
Havel Ltd. is a metal and plastic products manufacturer located in Ilomantsi. The company is a famous innovative product developer for forest technology and forest energy sector, among others. The company has also significant growth potential, in which GREBE EES can provide tailored support.
The EES in Finland has started with preliminary interviews and mentoring sessions will begin in autumn 2017.
The GREBE project partners are holding their sixth partner meeting this week in Narvik, Norway. The Western Development Commission and the Norwegian partners Narvik Science Park have been working together to prepare a programme to fit in as much as possible.
During the first part of our partner meeting we discussed our activities since our meeting in Finland in February and progress on rolling out our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme to the partner regions, and plans for the next six months. Discussions are taking place on other work package activities including the development of our online funding options decision making tool, our Virtual Energy Ideas Hub and the development of a Renewable Energy Resource Assessment Toolkit. Tomorrow (Thursday) we will visits to Statkraft, Nordkraft, Fortum Wind Park and meetings with some other SMEs in the Narvik area. We will have details of our activities in future blog posts and our next e-zine.
GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) contributes towards dissemination of GREBE outputs and learnings among their wider networks, including at local, regional and national policy level where possible.
The second annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Wednesday 26th of April 2017. Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments and outcomes over the last year, introduced the GREBE Renewable Business Portal (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).
The group discussion was interesting and highlighted the importance of marketing & sales skills in companies and SME´s. The discussion also included the planned online/virtual course preparation and video production of Finnish technology & renewable energy cases showing the entire chain from the raw material to the end-use. The IAG provided valuable insights for the GREBE activities on support scheme, business calculations, entrepreneur enabler scheme and demonstration cases and mentioned the importance of National languages in dissemination material such as in videos or other selected material.
IAG also discussed on how to link and work together with other activities, projects and support and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy. The IAG in Finland includes representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union.
The heat entrepreneurs of North Karelia and Savo regions met in Lieksa to discuss the recent development of the sector. The meeting of entrepreneurs and bioenergy developers focused on the work safety aspects, the potential of the solar energy systems integrated in district heating, and the socio-economic benefits of bioenergy.
The importance of the work safety issue was emphasized by presentations on risk assessments, safety issues along the supply-chain and at the heating plant, and on legislation requirements. Practical examples were given on the realised risks – such as deaths in silos – and how they could have been avoided.
Eno Energy Cooperative is a famous example of a heat enterprise positively affecting at the regional economy. Bioenergy and bioeconomy specialist Esa Kinnunen from the Finnish Forest Centre presented the latest socio-economic study of the Eno Energy Co-op. The estimated socio-economic impacts of cost savings (i.e. replacing heating oil with renewable biomass) during the past 15 years have been about 75 jobs and 2.8 MEUR.
The heat entrepreneurs are considering investments on the solar energy systems integrated in the DH plans; technical and economic aspects of the PV and solar thermal were presented by Karelia UAS Renewable energy specialist Kim Blomqvist. Kim also presented the currently open GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme call for local enterprises in Finland – heat entrepreneurs are among the key target groups of the scheme.
The 2017 Omagh Business Awards, sponsored by SSE and organised by the Ulster Herald and Omagh Chamber of Commerce, are now open. The Awards aim to celebrate local business dedication, commitment and success and in particular those who show initiative, business acumen and a great determination to grow the local economy.
Businesses can now enter any of the eight categories on offer and recipients will be announced at the Gala Awards Night in the Silverbirch Hotel on Friday, 19th May 2017.
By entering businesses can raise their profile, prove excellence, acknowledge team efforts and impress partners and clients.
The GREBE project partners are holding their fifth partner meeting this week in a very cold (minus 25oC) Joensuu, Finland. The Western Development Commission and the Finnish partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and Karelia University of Applied Sciences have been working together to prepare a programme to fit in as much as possible.
The first part of our partner meeting was held today where we discussed plans for rolling out our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme to the partner regions. The meeting will continue tomorrow where discussion on other work package activities will take place. Our meeting is taking place in Metla House where LUKE are based. Then on Thursday we will hold a joint seminar with IEA Bioenergy Task 43 ‘From Resource to Sustainable Business’. On Thursday afternoon, we will hold two parallel sessions of either site visits to Kesla Forest Technology and Sirkkala Energy Park or a GREBE Policy Workshop. We will have details of our activities in future blog posts and our next e-zine.