The GREBE project arranged a possibility for the transfer of knowledge within the Northern Periphery area by hosting expert sessions with SME´s. The sessions were part of the GREBE project meeting events hosted by the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council from 6th – 10th November 2017. Two experts, Saija Rasi and Veikko Möttönen from the GREBE partner organization Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings.
Saija Rasi, whose expertise is in bioenergy production, biogas technology, gas analysis, treatment of biodegradable wastes and bio refineries, provided information to stakeholders interested in biogas technology / energy production and nutrient circulation.
Veikko Möttönen has his area of expertise in wood mechanical properties, drying of wood and sawn timber, further processing of sawn wood, further processing of side streams and wood modification, and was able to provide information on practices to handle side streams and plans of company for the production development.
The experts were also available during a networking event for businesses from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland giving the opportunity to engage with one another or opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future.
This activity was part of the GREBE project´s “Knowledge & Technology Transfer and Business Delivery” working package led by the Natural Research Institute Finland (LUKE). The aim of the expert sessions were to facilitate transnational effective knowledge transfer and collaboration in the renewable energy business sector and to promote knowledge sharing and information exchange between actors in renewable energy supply and demand.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council hosted a meeting of the GREBE project in the week 6th – 10th November 2017. This meeting, the 7th Partner meeting took place on Tuesday and Wednesday and culminated in a networking event for those businesses who engaged with the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland, and brought them together with a number of businesses from the Republic of Ireland.
The following partners were in attendance:
Western Development Commission – Ireland
Action Renewables – Northern Ireland
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council – Northern Ireland
University of the Highlands and Islands – Scotland
Natural Research Institute LUKE – Finland
Karelia University of Applied Science – Finland
Narvik Science Park – Norway
Icelandic Centre for Innovation – Iceland
An important aspect of this event was also the involvement of two experts from Finland who were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings, Veikko Mottenen and Saija Rasi. These meetings were positively received and the speed networking event afforded all of those who attended the opportunity to engage with one another, opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future. The high-energy event was facilitated by Ruth Daly of Sort-IT and was enjoyed by all.
After the networking event, the group attended a Chairman’s reception in Enniskillen Townhall, followed by a social event when the networking continued.
Thursday saw the group visit a number of sites to see the range of activities within the area in the Renewable Energy sector. Site visits were facilitated by the CREST centre at South West College in Enniskillen, an associated partner in the GREBE project, Balcas, who are a major supplier of fuel to the Renewable Energy sector and finally to Ecohog, based in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, whose machinery is built locally and is sold across the globe and has been making significant inroads into the Renewable Energy sector.
The GREBE Project is organising a networking workshop and site visits in Enniskillen on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th November 2017. We would like to invite stakeholders from Northern Ireland and Ireland in the renewable energy sector to participate in this event.
The aim is to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SMEs and start-up businesses and give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland (https://www.luke.fi/).
Veikko Möttönens area of expertise is wood mechanical properties, drying of wood and sawn timber, further processing of sawn wood, further processing of side streams, wood modification (thermal modification – Thermowood, preservative impregnation) and Saija Rasis area of expertise is in bioenergy production, biogas technology, gas analysis, treatment of biodegradable wastes, biorefineries. Places are limited for one to one meetings with Veikko and Saija.
GREBE Project partners from Finland, Norway, Iceland and Scotland will be available to share their knowledge. Participants from the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (both SMEs and mentors), and other renewable energy businesses will attend and are happy to share their experiences.
On Thursday 9th November, site visits will be held at the CREST Centre in South West College, Balcas and Ecohog (an Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme participant).
The GREBE Project has published a report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses. The report can be downloaded from the GREBE Website here
The key objective of this report was to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supportive framework for sustainable renewable energy business (both new and emerging). The focus of this report was on the support and benefits that each case study received, including how the supports and benefits helped each business in terms of creating employment, finance or diversifying their business. This report examines the funding mechanisms, criteria, application practicalities and business outcomes and innovations in the case studies.
When carrying out the report, the most popular funding mechanisms available to the renewable energy businesses were research & development supports and also financial supports. In Ireland one company received a support towards creating employment through the JobsPlus scheme. JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities. On the other hand support mechanisms such as social support, were not as popular throughout the partner regions.
Through analysing the chosen case studies, Finland, Iceland and Scotland have a number of different funding mechanisms were available to companies for certain types of projects, whereas in Northern Ireland only one type of support was available for certain projects.
The GREBE Project will attend the NPA Annual Conference 2017 which takes place in Galway on 21st September. The theme of this years conference is ‘Blue Growth’.
The programme for the conference not only focuses on the Arctic, but also aims to contribute to the Atlantic Strategy. The conference will address such topics as entrepreneurship and innovation related to fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection and maritime and coastal tourism.
Galway located on the Atlantic coast is a fitting location. The venue is the Marine Institute, which plays a national coordinating role in the Atlantic Strategy.
The Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and the Environmental Research Institute will attend and meet with other projects funded under the NPA programme.
Information on the NPA Programme and conference is available here
The NIRDP 2014-2020 has six priorities and is supported by a total budget of approximately £623 million. The six priorities are:
Knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas
Farm competitiveness and risk management
Food chain organisation
Restoring and enhancing ecosystems
Promoting resource efficiency
Social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas
Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (LAG) Ltd which covers the Fermanagh and Omagh district, is one of ten LAGs responsible for delivering Priority 6 in the rural areas of Northern Ireland. The overall aim of Priority 6, which has a budget allocation of approximately £70 million, is to promote social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas (LEADER). The NIRDP 2014-2020 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The Fermanagh and Omagh LAG will, through programme delivery with a budget of approximately £8.29 million and by working in partnership with other agencies, contribute to the development of stronger rural communities through the creation of a more diverse and outward looking prosperous rural economy. The LAG will do this by creating greater local employment opportunities. The LAG will also support innovative approaches to the development of local services and facilities meeting the needs of the changing rural population. The LAG will achieve this by delivering the following Schemes:
The Fermanagh and Omagh LAG Board comprises 24 Members of which 11 are elected representatives nominated by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) and 13 social partners representing the business, community and agriculture sectors.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council acts as the Administrative Council with responsibility for all financial and administrative matters.
The GREBE project studied the market access paths of RE and energy storage technologies by using a case-study approach. The case studies (n 12) 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 summary report of key findings, roadmap to market, as available now in GREBE Project Publications.
Basing on the case study findings, coordinated technology planning is an essential part of the roadmap to market, i.e. strategy to proceed from the technology development and demonstration to its successful market deployment. Technology planning covers both planning of the new technology development, but can be also applied as a process of updating and adopting new existing technologies for the business enterprises.
The development paths of technologies included several steps building on the earlier ones, and time-span was up to 15-20 years. Without coordination and planning procedures, the market-access can be very difficult to reach, and innovations can be lost. As a part of the technology planning, technology transfers can be utilised. They can include technologies (or sub-technologies) of different readiness levels, and new to area solutions. The role of technology transferring agents, i.e. persons (often multi-nationals) with experience of different industries and operational environments remains essential.
Bridging the gap between demonstration and deployment remains also as a key challenge. The gap between the technology demonstration and deployment can be reduced by establishing and utilising soft supports, industry clustering and partnerships in demonstration, for instance. Public sector has often an essential role in providing the supporting infrastructures (such as business and technology parks) and funding instruments.
Partnerships are essential for risk sharing in long and often capital intensive processes, as well as finding suitable sites for demonstrator projects. There were several types of partnership models applied in RE technology cases. They were often place-based and utilising local trust and previous experiences.
End-user support is essential part of the early deployment. Technologies typically have still improvement needs and often end-users need training and support for the deployment. This raises the importance of the development of the end-user supports along the technology development, and full availability of the service and maintenance as the technology reaches the market.