Low carbon economy sustains 238,500 jobs across UK

Wind farm image

Some 96,500 businesses were operating in the low carbon sector – from renewables such as wind and solar power to electric vehicles – in 2014, the most recent year for which figures were available.

A third of those (34%) were primarily focused on low carbon business, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data show.

Energy efficiency products was the biggest sector, generating £21.9 billion in turnover and employing the equivalent of 155,500 people, while renewable energy generated £15.9 billion turnover and sustained the equivalent of 43,500 full-time jobs.

Energy efficiency products was the biggest sector, generating £21.9 billion in turnover and employing the equivalent of 155,500 people, while renewable energy generated £15.9 billion turnover and sustained the equivalent of 43,500 full-time jobs.

Overall more than 4% of non-financial sector businesses were active in the low carbon and renewable energy sector, and it generated 1.3% of non-financial turnover.

The sector generated exports worth nearly £4.8 billion and imports of £5.9 billion, with l ow emission vehicles taking the lion’s share of exports, accounting for 60% or £2.9 billion, the figures show.

Scotland had the biggest percentage of companies active in the low carbon sector, with 5.2% of non-financial Scottish businesses involved in clean tech, energy efficiency and renewables and providing the equivalent of 21,500 full time jobs.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/low-carbon-economy-sustains-238500-jobs-across-uk-34726007.html

Hybrid energy solution on farm scale – Finnish GREBE partners visited a case in Northern-Savo

The Finnish GREBE project partners Luke and Karelia UAS visited Itikan tila farm in the region of Northern Savo in Finland. The farm visited will be a case study for the GREBE project on hybrid energy solutions used in energy production.

The farm is a seed producer since the 1970´s, but the ownership dates back until 1905, however, nowadays energy production plays an important role of the farm´s business. The energy production on the farm includes an own biodiesel production unit, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The bio-oil production is used mainly to produce heat for heating and drying of grain, but also as fuel for two tractors and a harvesting machine. The production is based on rape seed oil and vegetable and frying oils from the industry in the region.  The rape residues can be processed to briquettes as cattle feed on the farm. Briquettes are also produced from straw, cutter shavings and saw dust from the local wood processing industry and mainly used for combustion in a municipal district heating scheme in the region.

The hybrid energy solution for the farm includes a 5 kW wind power plant since 2015. The energy produced is used to heat water in an accumulator. In addition to the energy production, the wind mill is an important component for the demonstration.

The farm has invested two years ago into a solar PV plant with a capacity of 10 kW. The produced electricity is transferred directly to the electricity grid. The farm used heat exchangers and heat recovery systems in many places on the farm, LED lights are the favored light option.

Another energy source is based on a ground sources heat pump system (30kW). All in all, the farm has an energy consumption of approximately 150 000 kWh, especially for seed processing and drying.

The farm is also part of the e-farm network which for example organizes visits to energy producing farms. The Itikan farm has several visitor groups each month.

The GREBE project will prepare a case study report about the Itikan farm which will then be available as good example case for hybrid energy solution for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

GREBE E-Zine is launched !

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GREBE has launched an e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.

The first issue of the GREBE E-zine provides an overview of the projects aims and objectives and how the GREBE project will support renewable energy start-ups and SMEs in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) region.   This issue places a spotlight on the international launch of the project, which took place in Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland in February 2016.

GREBE Project Launch2

We will look at each of the project partners, Western Development Commission (ROI), Action Renewables (NI), Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (NI), Environmental Research Institute (SCO), LUKE (FI), Karelia University of Applied Sciences (FI), Narvik Science Park (NOR) and Innovation Center Iceland (ICE), the renewable energy sector in their region and activities in the project.

GREBE Partners

 

To read the GREBE E-Zine issue 1, click here

Excellent response to GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland

EES Launch
Una Porteous of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council presenting at the Entrepreneur Scheme Launch in Balcas, Enniskillen in March 2016

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have been delighted with the response to the call for businesses to engage with the GREBE project. The project has been oversubscribed and we are currently in the process of determining which businesses will be supported through the assistance available within the project. 

The applicants are representative of a range of providers across the Renewable sector, including some social enterprises, CHP providers, those involved in AD, biomass and those impacted by the removal of the RHI support that had previously been available.

The project co-ordinator for GREBE in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Una Porteous, can confirm that once selected these businesses will be involved in mentoring support to assist them in progressing within the RE sector and the diversity of activity that will be represented in the choice, will reflect the range of opportunities that exists for this sector in spite of the challenges that they have to deal with.

International NPA seminar: Towards Energy Efficient Northern Societies

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The aim of the new NPA co-funded SECURE project is to transfer and implement innovative energy solutions for housing and public infrastructure across NPA regions with different maturity-levels. Knowledge transfer will be demand-led, supported by a quadruple helix approach, and impact will be maximised by focusing implementation in small smart energy communities and building up local authority capacity.

The kickoff seminar will invite discussion, examine best practice and promote transnational networking on a number of issues specifically related to awareness raising and societal support, such as:

  • How can we encourage citizens to be part of the transition to future energy paths and the policymaking process that goes with it?
  • Given the scale of changes required, what are the right mechanisms to engage communities and build awareness?
  • What formal and informal approaches could be used to increase energy awareness?
  • How can public authorities develop and share effective messages?
  • What activities and programs have been successful transnationally?

With a heightened awareness of the need for increased energy efficiency and renewable technology solutions comes an opportunity to engage communities and actively involve them in the transition towards a low-carbon society.

Effective engagement with local communities is an integral part of the SECURE project. Therefore, this event will equip partners with practical strategies, verified techniques and transnational know-how to ensure a positive project outcome.

The seminar is co-financed by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and is arranged in cooperation with the GREBE (Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise) and Poveria biomassasta projects.

Date: 18 May 2016 09:00 – 17:00
Location: Metla House, Yliopistokatu 6, FI-80101, Joensuu, Finland

Seminar Programme.

The New Climate Economy

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Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Renewable energy and innovative climate technology would play a key role in the transformation of energy systems from fossil to renewable – due to the report: ‘The New Climate Economy’ from The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. We are going towards a low emission society that will require changes in energy use, consumption and production patterns.

The report ‘The New Climate Economy’, shows how technological innovation and investments in efficient low emission solutions can create new possibilities for improved economic growth. A main conclusion from the report is that there is often no contradiction between economic growth and climate action. In order to achieve growth, we need to use more renewable energy, and also developing new technological solutions. In the transformation of energy systems from fossil to renewable, innovation and technology development would play a key role.

The change process to a low emission society is demanding, but also creates new growth opportunities. The periphery regions of Europe are well positioned to take part in the development of new energy and climate technology – based on their assets; renewable energy production, environmental knowledge, sustainable technology development focus and climate technology goals.

Technology development

The technology development takes place in a market with players range from major companies with designated development departments to individual enterprises and entrepreneur companies. The large companies are important for driving development, the smaller and creative suppliers often provide new ideas. The key elements for renewable and climate technology development:

  1. Private industry – is the most important driver of technology development. They develop new technology when this is competitive with established solutions. If the private industry companies and business are to invest in innovation – there must be a possibility to make profit and a market hat is willing to pay.
  2. Price level – In the energy market it has always been the price level that come first, then requirements for renewable energy and environmental standards – is this situation about to change?
  3. Recession – Technology development often take place during periods of recessions – the necessity of improving efficiency and innovation is stronger when competition gets tougher during periods with lower demand.
  4. Public support – for development of renewable energy and climate technology has proven to be important. It exists in a range of policy instruments – covering the entire development course from research to demonstration of new technology, and thus ensuring that projects reach the commercialization phase.

Necessary help

It takes time to develop new technological solutions. Without any profitable prospects, there is no basis for technology development. It is important that those with the ability and willingness to take the investment risk, receive the necessary help along the way. The GREBE Project should strengthen the efforts to bring new technology to the market, and ensure the realization of new technology projects – give the necessary help to companies that wants to bring new renewable and climate technology to the market.

The change to renewable energy is on it’s way.

European Investment Bank provides £500 million for grid connector in the Highlands of Scotland

ERI post 08-04-2016
A view across the Moray Firth to Caithness, the stretch of water where the cables will be laid.

Since the March 11th blog post on the need for grid connection to Scottish Islands the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £500 million (€618 million) of investment to improve the transmission network in northern Scotland.

The €618 million represents the largest investment in the electricity network in the north of Scotland for 60 years and includes a new 1200 MW subsea cable between Spittal in Caithness and Blackhillock in Moray. The laying of the subsea cable and associated onshore infrastructure works are expected to support 600 jobs during the construction phase.

The EIB Vice President Jonathan Taylor described infrastructure investment such as this as “essential to harness the full potential of new and future renewable energy schemes”, and went on to say that the “investment will ensure more efficient transmission of green energy, enable increased use of renewable power in Scotland and secure energy supply to the Highlands and Scotland’s cities.”

This will be important if Scotland is to realise its target of generating the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. Scotland is currently on track to achieve this, having provided the equivalent to 57% of its electricity demand from renewable sources in 2015, according to the most recent Department of Energy and Climate Change figures. However, recent government cuts to renewable subsidy are likely to make further progress more challenging.

Whilst the investment in a subsea cable is a good news story for future renewable development in the UK, it is worth remembering that the UK is holding a referendum in June over whether to stay in the EU. The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank and is 16.1% owned by the UK government but if the UK was to leave it would no longer have a share. This would of course mean the EIB would not invest in the UK at anything like this scale, if at all, in the future.

The UK has received notable investment from the EIB over the years, particularly when it comes to energy; this is summarised in the table below.

New 12MW Wind Farm for Northern Ireland

Wind farm NI

Gaelectric has completed and will officially open its 12MW Monnaboy wind farm in Northern Ireland today. This new wind farm has created employment.

The £16.8m Derry project features four Enercon E-82 turbines with blade tip heights of 121.3 metres.

Some 25 full and part-time jobs have been created during Monnaboy’s development and construction, Gaelectric said.

The developer’s head of corporate affairs Patrick McClughan said: “The 12MW Monnaboy wind farm development is the third renewable energy project that Gaelectric has commissioned in Northern Ireland.

“This official opening marks yet another important milestone for our business and further strengthens Gaelectric’s platform in the energy market.”

He added: “Our total permitted portfolio now stands at 140MWs in Northern Ireland and represents a total investment of approximately £170million. This consolidates Gaelectric’s position as the largest indigenous renewable energy company in Northern Ireland, and we are proud to make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s renewable energy targets.”

http://renews.biz/102164/gaelectric-cuts-monnaboy-ribbon

BioRES project report on “Biomass Logistics and Trade Centres” published by GREBE partner Luke

BLTC

The BioRES project studied the best European practices to establish Biomass Logistic and Trade Centres (BLTCs), local or regional centres with optimised logistics and trading organization where different woody bioenergy products (or heat) are marketed at standardized quality focusing on the domestic market uptake. The BLTCs as regional hubs will help increasing local supply and demand for woody bioenergy products.

GREBE partner Luke (Natural Resources Institute Finland) is leading the working package on European best practices of BLTCs. The recently published report about good practice examples analysed 11 examples of operating BLTCs from Austria, Finland, Germany and Slovenia. The SWOT analyses of business models were carried out in the stakeholder workshops in the implementing countries to evaluate the possibilities and limitations to transfer the business models.

The role of Luke in the BioRES project is to support the project partners in the implementing countries, particularly with logistics of biomass procurement and technological solutions related questions. Transfer of Finnish knowledge and experience through training of local stakeholders in Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia is very important for the successful realization of the project objectives, says research scientist and project manager Karri Pasanen of Luke.

Lessons learned and key success factors for local market development of woody bioenergy and setting-up BLTCs were identified during a joint international workshop:

  • Finding (political) support on local level is important
  • Optimize locations (supply and demand in the same region)
  • Transparency of business (prices, contracts, reliability) – price shouldn’t be the only factor
  • Synergies with other industries should be created
  • Several main pillars of BLTC business will help to be/stay successful, e.g.selling and providing heat (not just biomass), services for potential customers (about investment in boilers, etc.),connection with other industries and businesses (for example tourism).
  • Being a local stakeholder helps to establish trust
  • Be a pioneer and have new ideas (e.g. facilitated by EU projects with European know-how exchange)
  • Extending supply chains (e.g. from private forest owners)
  • Motivated members/staff will ensure success (maintenance, customer service and sales)
  • Establishing trustful and long term cooperation among suppliers and customers and between energy market actors (also in difficult economic times) is crucial for ensuring economic success of BLTCs
  • Costumer development has to be considered as a major activity in establishing the BLTCs. This includes larger costumers, such as district heating plants and smaller individual costumers
  • Local businesses and potential BLTC investors need to invest in raising awareness about the benefits of woody bioenergy products
  • Developing suitable business models which fit to the specific local condition and nature of the BLTC operator setting has a major impact for the success of new BLTCs.
  • Specific solutions, such as public private partnerships, local district heating systems, or cooperative structure, provided participants valuable insights about a large variety of ownership models, business segments and market development.

In conclusion, the successful establishment of BLTC is a longer process requiring persistence, and it usually takes several years to achieve positive financial results.

The BioRES project results can be implemented also in the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

The report and other BioRES project results can be found through the following link: http://bioresproject.eu/

GREBE Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

Finland IAG meeting
GREBE partner Robert Prinz (LUKE) presenting project objectives at the Finnish Industry Advisory Group meeting

GREBE Industry Advisory Groups provide their insights on how project activities can most effectively be implemented in the region, how project can link and work together with other activities and results be disseminated to various beneficiaries.

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 first meeting was organized at LUKE, Joensuu office in Tuesday 15th of March.

GREBE IAG meeting introduced the project (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The group discussion provided many valuable insights for the GREBE activities. For instance, the networks of companies and of research and development could be linked better with each other. Recommendations were given for the development of the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme. Currently mentoring is not a common practice in the region, but it was considered to have good potential. As a positive trend, the RE enterprises are increasingly cooperating and sharing information with each other.

IAG also discussed on how to share the information about GREBE among their wider networks and contribute to the policy development activities of the project.