Renewable energy demonstration network to be established in North Karelia, Finland

Solar PV Joensuu
A Solar PV of 27 kW, Etra / Green Park, Joensuu.

Poveria Biomassasta Project (Power from the Biomasses), collaborating with the NPA Project GREBE, is establishing a network of renewable energy demonstration sites in North Karelia, Finland.

Several of the sites, such as Eno Energy Cooperative or small-scale combined heat and power of Kuittila Power Ltd., are already famous examples of sustainable energy at the local level. Together with updates of current sites, there are number of new examples for demonstrating new technologies and business models. Poveria Biomassasta will gather the energy sites as a demonstration network and provide access to them through the GREBE Renewable Energy Business Portal.http://www.renewablebusiness.eu/

The energy enterprises in North Karelia have joint development on the integration of solar energy solutions into district heating plants – and a new project, Poveria auringosta (Power from the Sun), has been launched for the purpose. The project will support attending enterprises in energy system planning and carrying out the investments and follow-up. In addition, there has been new interest in energy storage opportunities in the region, and several investments for energy storage are prepared. The practices in wood energy, technology manufacturing, and hybrid systems will also be demonstrated through the network.

The renewable energy demonstration network in North Karelia will be launched at the end of 2017. Karelia UAS will provide further information of the demonstration network and available case examples through the GREBE and Poveria Biomassasta projects.

LUKE and Karelia UAS hold GREBEs second Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

Finland IAG May 2017
GREBE partner Lasse Okkonen (Karelia UAS) presenting at the Finnish Industry Advisory Group meeting

GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) contributes towards dissemination of GREBE outputs and learnings among their wider networks, including at local, regional and national policy level where possible.

The second annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Wednesday 26th of April 2017.  Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments and outcomes over the last year, introduced the GREBE Renewable Business Portal (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The group discussion was interesting and highlighted the importance of marketing & sales skills in companies and SME´s. The discussion also included the planned online/virtual course preparation and video production of Finnish technology & renewable energy cases showing the entire chain from the raw material to the end-use. The IAG provided valuable insights for the GREBE activities on support scheme, business calculations, entrepreneur enabler scheme and demonstration cases and mentioned the importance of National languages in dissemination material such as in videos or other selected material.

IAG also discussed on how to link and work together with other activities, projects and support and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy. 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.

Heat entrepreneurship meeting in Lieksa, Finland

Esa Kinnunen
Esa Kinnunen (Finnish Forest Centre) presenting the socio-economic benefits of the Eno Energy Co-op

The heat entrepreneurs of North Karelia and Savo regions met in Lieksa to discuss the recent development of the sector. The meeting of entrepreneurs and bioenergy developers focused on the work safety aspects, the potential of the solar energy systems integrated in district heating, and the socio-economic benefits of bioenergy.

The importance of the work safety issue was emphasized by presentations on risk assessments, safety issues along the supply-chain and at the heating plant, and on legislation requirements. Practical examples were given on the realised risks – such as deaths in silos – and how they could have been avoided.

Eno Energy Cooperative is a famous example of a heat enterprise positively affecting at the regional economy. Bioenergy and bioeconomy specialist Esa Kinnunen from the Finnish Forest Centre presented the latest socio-economic study of the Eno Energy Co-op. The estimated socio-economic impacts of cost savings (i.e. replacing heating oil with renewable biomass) during the past 15 years have been about 75 jobs and 2.8 MEUR.

The heat entrepreneurs are considering investments on the solar energy systems integrated in the DH plans; technical and economic aspects of the PV and solar thermal were presented by Karelia UAS Renewable energy specialist Kim Blomqvist. Kim also presented the currently open GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme call for local enterprises in Finland – heat entrepreneurs are among the key target groups of the scheme.

Biomass Atlas – a new biomass tool supporting decision making

Biomass Atlas1

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has been leading the development of the Finnish Biomass Atlas, a web-based GIS platform for assessing biomass potentials within freely delineated geographical areas. The platform will be launched in May (in Finnish), the development of the tool will continue together with the project partners.

Biomass Atlas2

Biomass selector allows the user to select the assortments of interest. The data can be hierarchically organized. In this case the first level consists of three alternatives: Land cover, total biomass production and the potential of primary residues. At the second level forest chips have been selected in this example. Finally, the user has chosen the individual assortments: Small trees (harvested as delimbed stems), Logging residues (only spruce, according to Business as usual scenario) and Stumps (only spruce, according to Business as usual scenario).

In addition to basic map tools like zooming, panning and measurement of distances and areas, the user can delineate a polygon for which Biomass Atlas calculates the total of the selected assortments. The results can be exported into an Excel workbook. The results can also be calculated to predefined regions, e.g., to municipalities or provinces.

Biomass Atlas3

The user can identify a location on the map for which the potentials within a distance are added up. The distance can be calculated as Euclidean distance (straight line) or via road network.

Engineer Forum (Inssiforum) 2017 in Lahti, Finland

Karelia UAS 27-03-2017
A vision for development of bioeconomy engineer studies, Tapani Poykky (HAMK)

Lahti University of Applied Sciences organised the Engineer Forum 2017 in March 22nd-23rd at Sibelius Hall, Congress and Concert Centre. The annual event of engineer education organisations, engineers, industry and other stakeholder partners is this year among official Finland 100 year events.

The GREBE partner, Karelia UAS was responsible for organising the bioeconomy themed parallel session at the event. The session had focus on the impacts of the bioeconomy and bioenergy at the regional and local economy, and training and expertise development opportunities. About 30 attendants in the session discussed on the ways to promote bioenergy at the local level – topic introduced by the Karelia UAS lecturer and GREBE partner Lasse Okkonen and Admin Manager Urpo Hassinen from the Eno Energy Cooperative.

The latest development of the bioeconomy specialization studies was presented by Tapani Pöykkö, ‎Director of Regional Development in Bioeconomy and Natural Resources at Häme University of Applied Sciences, HAMK.  The approach he presented for the Bioeconomy Engineer studies was multi-disciplinary and knowledge-based. The open UAS studies in bioeconomy were presented by lecturer Anne Poutiainen, Karelia UAS, followed by engineer student Katja Keronen describing her expectations for future career in this field.

GREBE Policy Workshops in 2017

Finland Policy workshop
Michael Doran of Action Renewables

Action Renewables is the lead partner for Work Package 3 on Policy and Funding Mechanisms, within the GREBE project.   Part of this work package is to organise policy workshops in each partner region. To date Action Renewables has participated in five policy workshops.  Since the start of 2017, there have been three workshops in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland.  The purpose of these workshops is to involve and support stakeholders within the renewable energy sector.

During the workshops we discuss the advantages / disadvantages of local policies for that area and discuss how they can be improved to help the economy. The policy workshops will involve representatives of relevant bodies and Government departments that set the renewable energy policy agendas.  Each policy workshop has been different.  The reason for this, the conditions within each country are different and they are different policies.  All of the policy workshops were chaired by Michael Doran and Mark Corrigan of Action Renewables.   Our Norwegian partner Narvik Science Park which hold a policy workshop in April and it is our intention all will be completed before June 2017. We will then have a list of potential new policy mechanisms which will support different partner regions.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland policy workshop was hosted by South West College at their Dungannon campus on the 11th January.   For this workshop we had 10 representatives, who came from different sectors throughout Northern Ireland, including the Department of Environment, Invest NI, Fermanagh Omagh District Council, Fermanagh Enterprise and the Ulster Farmers Union.

This policy workshop focussed on the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland and the lack of new policy development, and how this will have an impact on the economy.  Northern Ireland will have no policy supports for the sector after the 31st of March 2017.

Scotland

Action Renewables chaired the Scotland policy workshop on the 26th January.  This workshop was organised by the University of Highlands & Islands and was held in Inverness.   For this policy workshop, we had the privilege of four guest speakers

  • HWenergy provided an “Overview of current renewable energy policies and constraints”,
  • Scottish Enterprise on “The solutions that exist within Highland & Island Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise”,
  • Local Energy Scotland, on “Community participation in RE” and
  • Community Energy Scotland on “Communities constrained by the existing policies”

Scotland are very advanced on policies that support the renewable energy sector.  To date Scotland have 18 policy mechanisms, which support the sector and is a popular area for wind and hydro.  Many of their support mechanisms are for SMEs looking to enter the renewable energy industry.

Finland

Finlands policy workshop took place in Joensuu on the 9th February.   Finland is mainly focused on its forestry sector, so therefore biomass is their main focus.  At the policy workshop we had 12 participants from a variety of different sectors. We also had the honour of the following guest speakers:

  • Regional Council of North Karelia – Presenter Anniina Kontiokorpi outlined how they are preparing an implementation plan (roadmap) for North Karelia to achieve ambitious aims established in their Climate and Energy Program.
  • Mayor Asko Saatsi from the City of Nurmes – In Nurmes, bioenergy projects (bio refineries) are essential part of local development strategy.
  • Mika Juvonen, CEO/Bio10 Ltd. – Mika Juvonen has established organic waste treatment/biogas plant in Kitee.  He has been actively informing policies and been able to reduce barriers identified in sector.

Finland – probably the most sustainable forest bioeconomy in the world

LUKE 13-03-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen

“You probably know already that 12 percent of Finnish forest area is today protected by environmental and ecological reasons. But did you know that forestry has brought to Finland €229 billion export revenues since 1995? You know that we have such a strong populations of moose, bear, and wolf that we need carefully to hunt them in order to maintain the balance and harmony between their prey and people living in forests.

But did you know, that since year 2000, timber sales have brought €24 billion of revenues for ordinary private citizens, who owns over 60% of all Finnish forests. Every fifth Finn owns forest area or has forest owner in his/her family, which spreads the income nicely to remarkable number of ordinary people throughout the country. Forestry also offers numerous working opportunities for people living in rural areas; this has also been always an important part of social sustainability.

Despite of the remarkable economic impact of forest industry and intensive wood use, we have more trees in our forest than ever before.

If you have been in Finland, you know that we have a lot of forests and trees. But did you know that despite of the remarkable economic impact of forest industry and intensive wood use, we have more trees in our forest than ever before. Nowadays there are about 80 billion trees and both the number of trees and total volume of forests are growing even if we increase our annual use of forests from the current level. This increased growth of forest means more carbon from air bound into trees and into the forest products replacing fossil based materials. Good for climate and climate targets.

You may know that we did large clear-cuttings in 1950’s and 1960´s when we were building the basis of our society. At that time we introduced intensive forest management practices based on monocultures and large units. But did you know that those large clearcuttings are now nice mixed-species forests again, our forest management is certified and biodiversity has been promoted for decades by introducing more diverse harvesting.

If you know some other country, in which renewable forest resource has equal importance for the economy and which has done things better than we have, please, bring it in! We want to benchmark it and to be better in the future.

Forests are tremendous source of sustainable welfare and wellness and we want to keep it that way – forever. (…)” (Luke Blog Posts).

The original blog post can be found from the blog section of GREBE partner Luke under: https://www.luke.fi/blogi/finland-probably-the-most-sustainable-forest-bioeconomy-in-the-world/