The GREBE Project holds its 6th partner meeting in Norway

M Doran presenting

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.

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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.

CREST Centre in South West College, Enniskillen host Heat Recovery Seminar on Thursday 15th June

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CREST (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) at South West College, Enniskillen, in collaboration with Institute of Refrigeration Ireland (IRI) invites you to a FREE heat recovery seminar, and demonstration for industry on Thursday 15th June from 10.00am to 2.00pm in the CREST Pavilion.

There will be a light lunch and a tour and demonstration of the refrigeration workshop on site.

This event for food retailers and distributors, refrigeration and air conditioning engineers, food manufacturers and other interested parties will focus on ‘Road to Recovery’ (Heat Recovery Opportunities within Refrigeration and Air Conditioning)
Speakers on the day include:

Declan Fitzmaurice
Past President of the Institute of Refrigeration Ireland
“Innovative Commercial Solutions within the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump market

Paul Wharton – Technical Support Engineer, Danfoss
“Cooling Solutions and Heat Recovery Options for Cold Stores and Retailers”

Andrew Dunwoody – Technical Sales Engineer, Cross Refrigeration Group
“Gas Driven Heat Recovery in Air Conditioning Systems”

Jim Clarke – Technical Advisor, Efficiency and Resource Team, Invest NI

“Funding Support Options for Business.”

Raymond Howe – Course Co-Ordinator for Refrigeration / Air Conditioning at South West College
“Skills and Apprenticeship Programmes at SWC”

Heather Young – Industrial Development Associate, CREST
“Energy Efficiency Research & Development at CREST”

You can register for this event on Eventbrite, or for further information please contact Heather Young at heather.young@swc.ac.uk or telephone 028 8225 5223 Ext. 4229.

Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Geopark scoops top sustainable tourism award

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The GREBE Project congratulates the internationally renowned Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark who scooped the Sustainable Tourism award at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards recently.  The Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopartk is located in Fermanagh & Omagh District Council area.  The awards, which were organised by Tourism NI and hosted at Enniskillen Castle on Thursday 18 May 2017, recognise excellence and innovation within the tourism industry.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Council’s Director of Community Health and Leisure, Robert Gibson said:

“I am delighted that Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark has been successful in this category. It is one of the Council’s flagship tourism facilities and this award is an endorsement of the Council’s efforts in managing and developing the UNESCO Global Geopark’s beautiful landscapes with great care and environmental sensitivity, while building a global tourism product that benefits local communities through trade, employment and improving access to the local environment.”

Mr Gibson added:

“the success of the other tourism facilities within the district at the awards is indicative of the superb tourism product on offer here in the Fermanagh and Omagh area.”

The awards ceremony recognised tourism facilities and individuals across 13 different categories. The Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark was one of two category winners from the Fermanagh and Omagh district on the night with Finn Lough Forest Domes securing the Unique Tourism Accommodation award. Other locally based tourism facilities and businesses also enjoyed success at the awards with Belle Isle Castle and Private Island being Highly Commended and National Trust Fermanagh Florencecourt, Fermanagh Self Catering and Erne Water Taxis commended in their respective categories.

For further information on the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark , please contact Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre by telephone on 028 6634 8855 or visit Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark.

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council Community Plan launched

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Following an extensive public consultation exercise in October/November 2016, we have finalised the first Community Plan for our district – Fermanagh and Omagh 2030 – and launched it at the end of March.

The Community Plan is a long-term strategic plan for our area which will be owned and delivered by the Community Planning Partnership comprising a range of statutory and support partners with the Council as lead partner.

The Community Plan will be supported by three detailed Action Plans, which we aim to publish by the summer of 2017. Together these will focus on achieving our Vision and Outcomes.

Detailed action planning is due to progress shortly based around the strategic actions which we consulted upon and, in line with the partnership ethos of the Plan, these will be led by the following agencies:

  • People and Communities: Western Health and Social Care Trust & Public Health Agency – in conjunction with FODC Director of Community, Health and Leisure
  • Economy, Infrastructure and Skills: Invest NI – in conjunction with FODC Director of Regeneration and Planning
  • Environment: Sport NI – in conjunction with FODC Director of Environment and Place.

The Community Plan will be managed using an Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) approach, in line with the draft Programme for Government and training on this will be rolled out in the near future.  Information sessions on the Community Plan and how the Council’s Corporate Plan align to this will be scheduled for all staff.

For further information please contact Kim Weir, Community Planning and Performance (kim.weir@fermanaghomagh.com).

GREBE publishes its 4th project E-Zine

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The GREBE Project has published its fourth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

We held our fifth partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland in February, where we held a joint conference with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 and launched our online training and networking platform renewablebusiness.eu.

This e-zine will highlight details of our Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in the NPA & Arctic Regions, our report which identifies technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low and our Growth Strategy Guidelines for SMEs in renewable energy.

We also have details of four participating companies in our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland (MSL – McCrea Services Ltd., Moffitt & Robinson, Rowe Energy and Winters Renewables) and information on three more of our policy workshops.  To read our e-zine, please click here

Service users of ARC Healthy Living Centre in Irvinestown benefit from energy efficiency measures

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ARC Healthy Living Centre is a not-for-profit community organisation, governed by a voluntary board of directors and working across one of the most rural parts of the UK. Each week they support families, young people and adults to learn new skills, improve their health and well-being, find employment and develop confidence to achieve their goals and transform their lives. ARC has a long established ethos of inclusion and positive expectation. 

The ARC Healthy Living Centre are delivering needs based services to vulnerable people and are constantly struggling to meet their running costs. They need to maintain constant temperatures in their buildings to suit their service users, primarily babies and young children in the new build and adults with long term conditions in the original build.

Recognising that they had to manage their heat demand into the future, in late 2014 they chose to move to a biomass system, as a long term outcome to reduce their costs and reduce their carbon footprint. The move to renewable energy was based on more than financial assumptions. Their commitment to protecting the environment and to move away from harmful fossil fuels was of key importance. Wood fuel is a ‘low carbon’ fuel that produces a fraction of the emissions of fossil fuels. The critical difference between biomass fuels and fossil fuels is the type of carbon emitted: biomass fuel releases contemporary carbon, whereas fossil fuel releases fossilized carbon. In addition to the environmental reasons, they were a hostage to fluctuating oil prices.  As with most households and businesses locally when oil prices were high they were subject to oil theft.

In February 2015 they went out to tender for suitable installers and in June 2015 had the new system fitted and commissioned. The installation of the biomass boiler was prompted by the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  The RHI aimed to encourage organisations to generate heat from renewable technologies. The RHI pays participants of the scheme for generating renewable heat and using it in their buildings and processes. Proving that the ARC met the requirements of the RHI was based on the establishment of facts and evidence, eligible heat output has to be determined and verified. On 31st August 2015 they obtained RHI accreditation.

The RHI on their new system will not cover installation costs for many years. Used ethically and correctly this system does not generate huge financial gains. The buildings have heat management systems and climate controls so therefore cannot be over heated. With the new system they have in fact reduced the heat demand, continued, maintained underfloor heating run from the biomass system has avoided the continual rationing and subsequent boosting that rendered the previous oil system so inefficient, and supplementary heaters are now seldom required. They have welcomed the media and public interest in this story, and ARC is happy to comply with any additional inspection or monitoring that is introduced as a result of the current publicity in around the RHI scheme.

The ARC Healthy Living Centre remains committed to supporting rural people experiencing fuel poverty and is working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in the design of a road map for innovation within the energy sector.  The development of such community energy schemes could lead to: a reduction in fuel poverty, the development of a secure and affordable energy supply for those who may be deemed as vulnerable, improved energy efficiency and ultimately improved physical and social well-being of rural communities.

GREBE identifies technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low

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The Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) Programme area is undoubtedly rich in many renewable energy resources. However the form and extent of these resources vary considerably throughout the region. While these differences may be clear at national levels they also exist at more local levels as well and, as a result, areas within the NPA region will have very different technological requirements for the effective utilisation of renewable energy resources.  The aim of Work Package 5 is to link the appropriate renewable energy technologies to the available resources and corresponding demand, for every partner region participating in the GREBE.  This work package is led by Scotlands Environmental Research Institute (ERI), which is part of the University of Highlands & Islands.

The first step towards successful achievement of the objective was the 5.1 “Report identifying technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low”.  This report lays the foundation for linking the appropriate renewable energy (RE) technology to the specific locality, through careful analysis of the input provided by partner regions, together with, identification of similarities and transferable solutions from one partner to another.

The main aim of this report is to inform the other activities in this work package by identifying key areas and technologies with the potential to generate new business models, in areas where renewable energy is less developed.    The report wishes to establish transferability of renewable energy technologies from areas of best practice to areas where RE uptake is low.  In order to ensure the appropriate level of coverage across all relevant technologies and key areas, all partners provided input for their specific region regarding:

  • Areas where non-renewable resources are meeting energy requirements, or where emerging businesses require new energy sources and are considering fossil fuel based energy systems.
  • Relevant Renewable Energy (RE) technologies and renewable integration enabling technologies relevant to the region, including the corresponding risk and market penetration levels.

Areas were separated in three different clusters – sectors, industries and geographic areas. As anticipated, there were recurrent key areas in the feedback from the partners across the NPA Region. The commonalities across the feedback from all partners, substantiates the fact that despite the geographical differences, the NPA region is facing similar challenges, which can be best overcome and realised by transnational cooperation. After a careful review of the individual partner feedback, recurrent areas across regions were pinpointed.  This generated a set of preliminary findings on transferable solutions from partners in which, areas of best practice integration of renewables where identified, to similar areas in other partner regions, where the uptake of renewables is low.

The second objective of the report was to identify the relevant RE technologies and renewable integration enabling technologies applicable to every partner region, including the equivalent risk and market penetration levels. A similar approach, as with the areas, was taken.  A review of the available technologies (the corresponding market penetration and risk) was undertaken, for every partner, individually. This led to the assembly of preliminary findings on RE technology transferable solutions, from regions where a given RE technology has high market penetration and low risk, to regions, where the same RE technology has low market penetration and high risk.  An in-depth analysis of the examined RE technologies, will be presented in our next report ‘A Collection of Case Studies across partner regions, accompanied by technology videos and advice notes’.

The finding of the report can be found on the Project GREBE website (http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GREBE-Report-identifying-transferable-renewable-energy-technologies-February-2017.pdf )

The completion of the objectives set in the report, assist us in defining the parameters, technologies, areas and demand, which are all incorporated in the final product of Work Package 5 – the Renewable Energy Resource assessment (RERA) Toolkit.