Farmers warned felling licences taking a year to process – IFA

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Forestry felling licenses are taking up to a year to process farmers are being warned by the IFA. National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said that the latest IFA Timber Price report shows that palletwood prices have increased by up to 15pc since February, while average sawlog prices are in excess of €85/tonne. Pat Collins said, “With demand for timber predicted to remain high at a domestic and global level, it is a good time to consider forestry. There are several options available under the Afforestation and Woodland Creation scheme to suit the soil, size, location and management objectives”.

He said that the size of a viable forest from a timber perspective is very location specific, for example a small forest that is near a road and easy to work can generate comparable timber incomes per hectare as a larger forests, particularly if managed as part of a harvesting cluster. “For those who have already planted, but who have not managed the forest or have timber in hard-to-access locations – now is the time to have your asset valued and look at realising a good price”. A farmer is legally required to apply to the Forest Service for a felling license before they can fell a tree in his plantation. If you are planning to apply for a felling licence, approvals can take up to 12 months to issue.

“Farmers are very concerned with the delays in getting felling licence approval”, said Mr. Collins. “The introduction of a single 10 year felling licence and the new public consultation process, although welcomed, is causing further delays”. He said that the Department must work to reduce the turnaround time for felling licence approvals so farmers can avail of the strong timber prices.

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/farmers-warned-felling-licences-taking-a-year-to-process-ifa-36945543.html

Advice Notes on Biomass CHP Technology 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. 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.

 

EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd – Case Study

EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd. is an energy efficiency company based in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon in the West of Ireland. EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd. provides external insulation services nationwide to all parts of Ireland. The owners of EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd. are both from an engineering and architectural background and initially formed a partnership in 2009, after working together since 2007 on construction projects using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF).

As a result of the economic downturn and subsequent changes in the construction industry in Ireland, the partners decided to continue working together and focus on renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency in construction. In 2011, they formed a partnership with a UK construction company and formed a new company Cara EcoSmart Ltd. where they were worked on projects in the UK funded by the Green Deal Scheme. Cara EcoSmart Ltd. required a robust quality assurance system, and adopted and modified one which was used by other partners in the company. This knowledge transfer proved very valuable when tendering for contracts in Ireland.

In 2013, they formed EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd., and the construction sector slowly started recovering in early 2014 with people investing more on home improvements. The SEAI reintroduced and increased grant funding to approximately €4,500. This depended on the scale of energy efficiency measures undertaken. The availability of this grant made a very big difference in the mentality of people and they were prepared to undertake energy efficiency upgrades.

Click to access Energy-Efficiency-EcoSmart-External-Insulation-Ireland.pdf

 

Energy in Agriculture 2018 – Innovation Showcase

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Save the date for Ireland’s largest energy specific event for the agricultural community, Energy in Agriculture 2018!

In 2017 it had over 60 exhibitors and attracted over 2500 attendees, proving to be a highly successful, informative and productive day for all.

The 2018 event will take place again at Gurteen College, Co. Tipperary on Tuesday 21st August 2018. It will be bigger and better this year, informing visitors of the greater energy opportunities in agriculture – Support Scheme for Renewable Heat, Microgeneration Grant Scheme and the further development of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.

You can read the full programme here: Energy in Agriculture Programme

An exciting new addition to the line-up for the day is the Innovation Showcase – taking place in the main EXPO Arena at 3:30pm.

The Energy in Agriculture team is currently looking for entries for the Innovation Showcase.  If you have an innovative product that aims to increase efficiency and sustainability on farms, then you should apply to be included in the INNOVATION SHOWCASEInnovation Showcase – Call for entries

Not only will you get the chance to showcase your product/service to a niche target audience, all successful applicants will also be in with the chance of receiving the overall ‘Energy in Agriculture Innovation Award’ for the best innovation that improves efficiencies on Irish farms or contributes to the de-carbonisation of agriculture.  There are also an additional two categories of sponsored awards with significant prizes attached (see below).

Please register HERE to attend the event or apply for the showcase!

The Each Leim Microgrid for Energy Storage – Case Study

This project was a demonstration project under the GREAT Project (Growing Renewable Energy Applications and Technologies) which is an EU funded project under the INTERREG IVB NWE Programme. GREAT aimed to encourage communities and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) to develop technological solutions for Smart Grid, Renewable Energy and Distributive Generation; to research and develop policy issues for regulatory authorities and to provide structured co-operation opportunities between SMEs and research institutes / technology developers.

Údarás Na Gaeltachta was lead partner on the GREAT Project, with two full-time staff allocated to the co-ordination and implementation of their project aims. Each Leim Enterprise Centre was selected as a demonstration site. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also provided funding for this demonstration project under the Better Energy Communities (BEC) programme, and Údarás Na Gaeltachta utilized the expertise available in the SEAI in the development of the smart grid.

Click to access Battery-Storage-Each-Leim-Microgrid-Ireland.pdf

 

Action Renewables document highlights areas for improvement in north’s renewable landscape

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A leading company that provides renewable energy advice has released its latest policy document which outlines areas for improvement for the north’s renewable landscape. ‘Proposal for a renewable future’ produced by Action Renewables, focuses on issues such as energy efficiency, green gas, renewable transport, security of supply, renewable heat and job security. Each focus comes with recommendation’s which are aimed at encouraging debate within the sector and driving forward the development of new policies and goals.

The document emphasizes the growing threat to the renewables industry in the north highlighting the potential loss of more than 3,000 jobs in the sector due to a ‘lack of clear policy and withdrawal of incentives’. According to the report one-third of total energy consumption in the north occurs through the transport sector with 94 per cent of this associated with petrol and diesel in road vehicles. The document also draws upon the possibility of imported fossil fuel prices rising post-Brexit and suggests generating renewable energy from local sources.

Action Renewables announced the launch of its most recent policy document at the European Energy Policy Forum which had over 100 delegates in attendance. Topics covered at the event included renewable energy opportunities for SME’s, hydropower energy recovery technology, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Michael Doran, managing director at Action Renewables said: “The large turnout for our first European Energy Policy Forum highlights the appetite in Northern Ireland to continue to develop and implement renewable energy technologies to help reach our renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets. Developed in 2010 with a ten-year implementation plan and 2020 targets for heat and electricity, the Strategic Energy Framework’s deadlines are looming, and with the current policy vacuum in place within our government, Action Renewables has produced our most recent policy document to encourage conversation and continued growth within the sector to meet these targets and improve the long-term forecast for renewable energy in Northern Ireland.

“We look forward to stimulating debate and ultimately driving our renewables sector forward locally following distribution of this document and with the on-going work of our collaborative networking organisation, AREA, which provides expert renewable energy advice to members.”

Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships in small forest-based local heating energy businesses – outcomes from the MADIE project

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The MADIE project published a booklet which highlights the economics and organizational aspects of small local heating energy supply schemes set up in rural regions as a market-driven business by their owners for earning them a profit and, apart from private self-interests, for promoting the social claims of their stakeholders.

The booklet tells about the Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships, especially in small forest-based local heating energy businesses. Start-up entrepreneurs and their partners need inspiration and guidance in how to establish and operate their business successfully. Besides technical and market information, for starting and organizing a business, multifaceted upfront information is needed. Here, decisions as to the legal form, ownership, liabilities, participation rights and selecting the right partners, are crucial for the continuity of the business. There is a need for arguments that help persuade stakeholders about the legitimacy of the business and related social benefits.

The booklet addresses, among others, forest owners, rural entrepreneurs and their public stakeholders. Policy makers have been attracted by a business model that meets the triple bottom line: by offering an attractive return to investment, providing support to renewable energy transition, and creating jobs and income in rural economies. Co-operatives have been able to demonstrate to be a convenient participatory model of organizing joint business activities.

The booklet, with its focus on renewable energy co-operatives, contributes to the outcomes of the MADIE-project, an initiative supported by the European Union’s Erasmus programme, which offers a comprehensive range of views on multifunctional agriculture as a driver for innovation in rural Europe.

MADIE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by the German Starkmacher e.V. with partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE, Finland), County Governor of Hordaland (Norway), NAK Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary) and Terre di loppiano srl (Italy).

The booklet “Co-operatives and forest-based heating entrepreneurship in a rural setting – the Finnish experience” can be found from here or from the library at https://www.ruralacademy.org/contents

The booklet is available in English and also in Finnish (as summary report from the English version).

Information gained during the MADIE project are beneficial also for the GREBE project and are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Albatern WaveNet Device – Isle of Muck Deployment

Albatern was founded in 2007 by David Finlay, supported by his father and brother. From 2007 until 2010 the development of the technology was very much on a self-funded basis, to come up with the concept and develop early models. It was validated in test environments, going from the bath to open waters.

Isle of Muck is the smallest of four main islands in the Small Isles, part of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is situated on the west coast of Scotland.

The project was a collaboration between Albatern and Marine Harvest Scotland. Albatern owns the technology, while the site is provided by Marine Harvest Scotland. The project in itself is a demonstrator project aiming to corroborate the supply of supplementary power to working fish farms by testing the 6-Series WaveNET arrays.

Motivation behind the project lays in the fact that aquaculture is one of Albatern’s targeted markets. They believe that their device – WaveNET, is perfectly apt to deliver power to isolated off-shore fish farm sites, which currently rely on diesel generators.

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Wave-Energy-Albatern-WaveNet-Scotland.pdf

Power from Biomass project final seminar, Monday 11th June, Joensuu

KUAS

The Rural development programme co-financed Power from Biomass project completed its work in June 2018 after three years of renewable energy development in North Karelia, Finland. The project cooperating closely with GREBE in North Karelia, resulted in several new investments including two solar PV and energy storage systems in community buildings of Höljäkkä and Haikola in Nurmes. Project also established a regional network of 15 renewable energy demonstration sites.

The final seminar held in Joensuu, presented projects main outputs, latest developments in renewable electricity production, biomass-based small-scale combined heat and power, solar energy project of heat enterprises, and intelligent solar PV systems.

Project manager Antti Niemi from Pielinen Karelia Development Company PIKES Ltd. summarized the project results. The project established a regional demonstration network with 15 sites demonstrating renewable energy production systems. The Energiaraitti website presents the technical and economic information and live-information of solar PV systems. New production units established were mostly solar PV and some energy storages systems in farms, other rural enterprises and community buildings. The biomass-based renewable energy had a challenging business environment due to low price of fossil fuel oil. Despite, also some new biomass-based energy systems were established.

Project manager Kim Blomqvist from Karelia UAS presented the solar PV systems integrated into biomass-based district heating plants. Investments were made for 7 district heating plants with total annual production of 52 MWh. The heating plans were considered suitable for the solar PV as they have balanced electricity demand.

Marketing and product development manager Kimmo Tolvanen, representing regional energy company PKS, presented an in-depth overview of the energy system development in Finland and North Karelia. The main game changers in the energy system are expected to consist of wind and solar power production, energy storages and digitalization working all effectively together. The energy grid changes toward decentralised, intelligent and adaptive systems are evident. In addition, electricity markets are in transition, and new service developments are expected throughout the system from production to consumption.

Project coordinator Anssi Kokkonen from Karelia UAS presented the technical solutions of biomass-based combined heat and power production. The solutions included woodchip gasification plant (Volter Ltd.), Nano-chp Stirling engine (9 kWth + 0.6 kWe), fuelled by wood pellets (Ökofen).  Both solutions are demonstrated at Sirkkala Energy Park by Karelia UAS.

Project manager Toni Hannula from energy company ESE (Etelä-Savon Energia, Mikkeli) presented intelligent solar power systems. The smart energy transition project by Lappeenranta Technological University has generated an overview of the systems change. The ESE has been successful in establishing biogas fuel stations, and piloting intelligent solar PV systems with 48 hours production forecast and directing the production optimally depending on energy price (electricity spot-price optimizing) and production and consumption loads. The system is piloted in Lumme Energia Oy estates.

The Power from Biomass project developed as a diverse renewable energy project and delivered several new services and RE production sites were established. The project had an international element through cooperation and networks of the GREBE project.

LUKE investigates alternatives to side-stream utilisation of Woodpolis Timber Cluster

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Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) made a survey on the alternative uses of side streams of wood processing in Woodpolis industrial area in the City of Kuhmo. Woodpolis Timber Cluster consists of Kuhmo Ltd.’s large saw mill and some ten SME companies specialised in further processing of sawn timber and side-streams of wood processing. A good example of new growing industries in the area are CLT, cross laminated timber and element factories producing prefabricated building products for multi-storey and one-storey buildings, such as residential, office, school and kindergarten houses.

In addition to saw mill chips supplied to pulp mill, versatile side streams from saw dust and bark to massive left-over pieces of log house and CLT construction are produced in the area. In 2015, of the total amount of 475,000MWh of bioenergy from the side streams 376,000MWh was used at the local CHP plant or for the briquette and pellet production, and 99,000MWh was sold to other CHP plants in Northern Finland. However, oversupply of wood chips and pellets for bioenergy as well as long transport distances reduce the profitability of selling the entire excessive bioenergy fraction. Increase of pellet or briquette production is not seen very profitable either. Therefore, new ways of utilizing side streams are actively sought.

The most technically challenging side-stream fraction is CLT leftover pieces because of their variation in shape, dimensions and chemical composition. Once the product is piled up with gluing, chipping it back to bioenergy or bio-refinery fractions is not easy or reasonable. New ways of utilizing them are sought from packaging and wood panel industries. If chipped, semi-finished products for manufacturing of for example wood-plastic composites should be given preference over bioenergy uses.

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Bioethanol production would be a feasible step in the further processing of more advanced biofuel products from saw dust, planer shavings and bark. Biochar production for purposes which require bioactivity from the char, or for metallurgic processes may also provide promising options. In addition, saw dust and bark contain extracts some of which are already in the markets: for example, pine tar, turpentine, pyroligneous acid, and adhesives. However, bio-refineries (e.g. bioethanol plants) usually require large amounts of raw materials to be technically feasible and economically profitable, much more than what is generated now in Woodpolis industrial area.

Probably, the best potential for local bio-refinery production would be in high priced bioactive compounds or upgraded raw materials intended for uses like in health products, cosmetics, or food products. In all cases, new bio-refinery production in the Woodpolis area requires investments and operating capital, and attraction for new initiated entrepreneurship. There are no ready-made solutions for a new bio-refinery production. Technical implementation must be planned and tested on a realistic raw material basis and market perspective with a convincing proof-of-concept before the start of a full scale production. If they are realized, the new large-scale bio-refinery projects going on in Northern and Eastern Finland, St1’s bioethanol factory and KaiCell Fiber’s pulpmill and related bio-refinery activities being the closest, may increase quickly the demand of the side-streams generated in the Woodpolis industrial area.

The entrepreneurial community of Woodpolis Timber Cluster has worked together for a long time, which has enabled the refinement of joint development work and common practices. Therefore, Woodpolis can offer an example for other wood-based industrial clusters of the same kind about good practices, collaboration between SMEs and large companies regarding cooperation and new options to acquire and market raw materials, as well as product and service development activities.