New Norway – Scotland electricity cable proposed

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The North Connect Consortium plans to apply for a Norwegian licence to the Norwegian energy ministry for its planned interconnector between Sima in Norway and Peterhead in Scotland. The cable would make it possible to export the large electricity surplus in Norway and to import wind power from Scotland to Norway. It is estimated that the net annual power exports from Norway could be between 5-9 TWh.  

Industrial relationship

NorthConnect is a project company owned by four partners in Norway and Sweden. The companys directive is to plan, build and operate an cable interconnector between Norway and the UK. The project is now preparing for an application to the regulator for a financial arrangement which governs revenues on the 650km interconnector. The NorthConnect partners strongly feel that the project offers good value to the UK consumer and once built would help forge a strong complementary industrial relationship between Scotland’s world class wind sector and Norway’s hydro capacity.

On the Scottish side of the project, the development team is now preparing a planning application for subsea infrastructure works and near shore connections on the Aberdeenshire coast. These offshore works, if consented by Scottish Ministers, would hook up with the already consented onshore electricity converter station near Boddam and Longhaven.

Inclusion of a fibre-optic cable

The NorthConnect consortium is also assessing the feasibility of laying a fibre optic broadband link, alongside the power cable, to connect the north east of Scotland and Norway.

NorthConnect has investigated the inclusion of a repeaterless fibre-optic data cable in the project, and initial findings show it will be technically feasible and very cost-effective when combined with the power cable design, manufacture and subsea installation. The commercial aspects are being examined further, but NorthConnect has a unique geographic advantage where it meets the Norwegian and UK coastlines, crossing strong, existing fibre-optic links.This will also provide a significant opportunity to Norway and Scotland for the development of data-centres.

EU – Network Development plan

NorthConnect has been included in the EU’s 10 year Network Plan and ranked among the most important projects with PCI (Project of Common Interest) status for Socio-Economic welfare, CO2 reduction and integration of renewables across Europe.

The projects are ranked and scored across a number of technical, environmental and economic criteria, and NorthConnect shows up as one of the highest rated projects in Europe for Socio-Economic Welfare, CO2 Reduction and Integration of Renewables. A number of other independent studies over the past 3 years have also shown very high welfare value, carbon savings and renewables facilitation for up to 4.5 Gigawatts of interconnection between Great Britain and Norway.

The rumours are true – Norway and Scotland have an affair !

Scotland sets 50% renewable energy target

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The Scottish Government has followed a world leading climate change target of cutting 66% of emissions by 2020 with a hugely ambitious renewable energy target – that 50% of all energy will be met by renewables by 2030.

The announcement was made at the end of January with the launch of the draft Scottish Energy strategy that aims to build on the strengths of the Scottish renewable energy sector and reduce emissions for 2050.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Energy Minister, has said that he hopes the “document stimulates debate about the energy challenges in Scotland and the policies needed to meet the aspirations of the people of Scotland to deliver a secure, sustainable energy future for all, in the best interests of our communities, economy and environment.”

The draft plan has a number of proposals such as a Scottish government-owned energy company with responsibility for helping local and community energy projects grow. It also sets out the ambition that Scotland will become the first place in the UK where onshore wind can thrive without subsidy.

Scottish Renewables, the representative body of the Scottish renewable sector, said the proposals are a “landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy”.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “The new draft strategy shows that Scotland is serious about building on the fantastic progress made in renewable power over the past decade and maintaining our position as a global leader in green energy.

“Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost.

The strategy sets out a “renewed focus” on stalled efforts for energy efficiency with the hugely ambitious target of making Scotland’s buildings near zero carbon by 2050. It also seeks out views on alternative financial models for supporting low carbon technologies and services such as green bonds.

The Scottish Government has been proud of its progress but now looks at addressing challenging areas with this draft Energy Plan such as low-carbon heat, and transport. Opposition parties have welcomed the commitment but have stated that the challenge is in the implementation of energy policy.

Launch of Renewable Business Portal at the successful seminar “From resource to sustainable business” & GREBE policy workshop

The GREBE project successfully organized – in cooperation with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 – the joint seminar “From resource to sustainable business” and the GREBE policy workshop. Both, seminar and policy workshop took place on the 9th of February 2017 in Joensuu, Finland.

The goal of this seminar was to discuss the topics and aims of GREBE and IEA Bioenergy Task 43 presenting and elaborating key aspects and opportunities from the resource to a sustainable business for sustainable energy. The joint seminar “From resource to sustainable business” included discussions of the more than 40 participants around the topics “Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Markets”, “Generating Renewable Energy business”, “Mentoring & support for RE business” and “Global energy markets & opportunities for sustainable business”.

A key milestone for GREBE was the launch of the Renewable Business Portal. Transnational sharing of knowledge is a key part of the GREBE project and therefore the portal provides a platform to demonstrate the full potential of the renewable energy (RE) sector and showcase innovations in RE technology. The Virtual Energy Ideas Hub enables connecting renewable energy businesses to develop new opportunities locally, regionally and transnationally.

The GREBE policy workshop after the seminar focused on energy policy and promotion of renewable energy. The GREBE policy workshop dealt with current issues from the Finnish and North Karelian point of view. There was active participation from regional stakeholders as well as from international participants (IEA Bioenergy Task 43 & GREBE). The results of the workshop will be utilized in drafting the roadmap towards an oil-free and low-carbon North Karelia 2040.  Details of this will be included in our next e-zine.

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Alternatively, participants had the opportunity to join an excursion in the Joensuu region visiting first the company Kesla Oyj and then the Sirkkala Energy Park.  The successful day ended with a joint dinner. The event was co-organized by the GREBE partners Luke and Karelia UAS.

The GREBE Renewable Business Portal can be found under: www.renewablebusiness.eu

The GREBE Project meets in Finland

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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.

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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.

Scottish Government announce ambitious new emissions plans

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Following on from previous world leading climate change targets the Scottish Government has announced dramatic new emissions targets. Having met a 42% reduction target set for 2020 six years early the SNP administration has announced a 66% cut by the year 2020.

The striking new strategy, expected to cost £3bn a year is closely linked to a new renewable energy programme, which will be published later this month.

The draft climate change plan will call for sector specific targets for 2032 including a fully decarbonised electricity sector and a domestic heating sector with 80% of its heat coming from low carbon sources.

The transport sector will be decarbonised with 30% of Scotland’s publicly owned ferries being powered by hybrid engines, 50% of all buses being low carbon and 40% of all new cars and vans sold in Scotland being ultra-low emissions.

Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish environment secretary has said that the proposals “represent a new level of ambition which will help maintain Scotland’s reputation as a climate leader within the international community”.

Friends of the Earth Scotland chief executive, Richard Dixon, has applauded the governments ambition but has urged the government to go further. He said “It paints a very good vision of what a low-carbon Scotland could look like in 2032 but there are clearly areas where there has been resistance and policies either aren’t going far enough or aren’t credible.”

The GREBE Business Supports Catalogue

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This GREBE Business Supports Catalogue has been developed following a review of Renewable Energy business support funding mechanisms and funding options available to support the development of renewable businesses in the NPA region.

It provides information on the funding mechanisms currently available in the partner regions (Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway and Scotland).  The information will be useful to both funding agencies (e.g. business support agencies and municipalities) and to SMEs giving details of funding options available in their regions.

The main focus is on public body support for renewable businesses but both private sector and social investment options have been included where appropriate. The supports included are for SMEs and Micro businesses but also include options for those SMEs expected to grow rapidly (e.g. High Potential Start Ups).  The business support funding mechanisms considered vary from standard ‘hard’ business support options (e.g. loans and venture capital) to softer supports (e.g. innovation schemes, business partner search supports etc.)

A short introduction on the methods and types of supports in each partner region is provided.  Information for each partner region is it then organised under the following categories:

  • Financial Support (grants, loans, equity investment)
  • Taxation or welfare supports or concessions for businesses
  • Soft supports e.g. mentoring, training, specialist advice, networks
  • Research and Development Supports
  • Social and Community supports (focused on not for profit)
  • Other- e.g. Incubation space or office space etc.

Within each of these categories there is considerable variation in the ways different funding options are implemented and these differences will impact on the success of schemes. We hope that by using this catalogue those who seeking funding and support for renewable businesses will have a clear portfolio of options which are available to them.

In the future the information in this catalogue will be used to create a web based tool allowing users to search for available funding options and to consider different types of funding available in each region.  The catalogues is available on the GREBE project website here

Christmas Greetings from the GREBE Project

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From all of us at GREBE Project, we wish all our followers a very Happy Christmas & all the very best wishes for 2017.

2017 will be a busy year for GREBE, and in February will we have our next partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland where we will launch our online knowledge sharing platform. We are joining with IEA Bioenergy Task 43 to hold a joint seminar on Thursday 9th February ‘From resource to sustainable business’.  Further details on this will be available in January on our website http://www.grebeproject.eu/ and social media.

Growth strategy guidelines for SMEs and micro-enterprises and a report identifying technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low will also be published in February.  Later in 2017, we will roll out of Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Please continue to follow our project and share with your colleagues and friends !