Weather conditions causing blackouts in eastern Finland

KUAS

Power companies in eastern Finland have struggled for about a week to restore power to homes plunged into darkness as a result of power lines giving way under the burden of heavy snowfall shortly after the New Year.

The power companies in Kainuu, Northern Savo and Noth Karelia have deployed hundreds of electricians, and several helicopters and military vehicles to locate tree falls, and clear and repair downed power lines. Resident evacuations have been carried out in several rural municipalities due to lack of back-up heating systems and dropping temperatures. So far, about 20,000 households have experienced blackouts, some in most remote areas lasted over a week.

In Finland, national contingency planning is based on the contingency legislation stating responsibilities of organisations, institutes and privately-owned companies to prepare for emergencies. The system encompasses the society in all levels, and helps to respond in events such as experienced heavy snow and tree falls. The current operation in eastern Finland is coordinated accordingly by the Rescue Services.

The GREBE project investigates the impact of extreme weather conditions to the renewable energy business in northern and arctic peripheral areas. This includes sharing information on contingency planning, among others, which is essential topic as the latest challenges prove in the eastern Finland.

Contingency planning in Finland: https://arctic-council.org/eppr/resources/national-contingency-planning/finland/

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GREBE publishes its seventh project e-zine

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

Since October we have continued to carry out the project activities and meet our objectives. Our 7th partner meeting in Enniskillen was hosted by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and included a networking event and site visits. The aim was 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. Details can be found on page 3. A policy workshop was held by the Western Development Commission as part of their Regional Heat Study for the Western Region. Details can be found on page 4.

GREBE’s Funding Options tool has been launched and provides information on the funding mechanisms currently available in the partner regions. More details on this can be found on page 6 and is available at http://support.renewablebusiness.eu/

Another highlight for the GREBE project was the launch of the Renewable Business Portal. The Portal is an online training and networking portal which allows for flexible and easy access to training material and technology transfer information. Details can be found on page 7 and 8 and can be visited at http://renewablebusiness.eu/

Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and has now been launched in Finland, Scotland and Ireland. Details can be found on page 9. Our e-zine can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here. This has been a great year as far as achieving our targets are concerned, and we have many more activities lined up for 2018.  We wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.

GREBE’s Funding Options Online Tool


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GREBE’s Funding Options tool 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 tool will help to ensure that funders in the different regions can learn about mechanisms and implementation strategies in use in other parts of the NPA area.

The main focus is on public 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.).  Options are available to search for mechanisms which are specific to the renewable energy sector, and also based on the geographical area (local, region, national, EU etc.) the support covers.  There is considerable variation in the ways different funding options are implemented and these differences will impact on the success of schemes.

Renewable businesses in each region will be able to check what supports are available in their own region and contact points for applications.  GREBE’s Business Supports Catalogue is also available to download on the tool. We hope that by using this tool those who seek funding and support for renewable businesses will have a clear portfolio of options which are available to them.  This tool is available on our renewablebusiness.eu platform at http://support.renewablebusiness.eu/

Knowledge transfer in the NPA – GREBE expert sessions with SME’s

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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.

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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.

More information on the topic in general can be found from GREBE´s Renewable Business Portal under: http://www.renewablebusiness.eu

GREBE holds Speed Networking Event in Enniskillen

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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.

Nordregio Working Paper on Bio-energy Development in North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland

KUAS 08-11-2017

Nordregio has released a working paper looking into rural bio-energy development in the region of North Karelia in Finland, and Jämtland and Västernorrland in Sweden. The paper identifies the enabling factors behind the relatively successful local bio-energy development and considers how the bio-energy development has influenced sustainable local and regional development.

The working paper is a part of the TRIBORN Project, which investigates how to increase the production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development understood as positive economic, social and environmental outcomes – in rural areas.

TRIBORN is a Norwegian-led research project investigating how to increase production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development in rural areas. It aims to understand and foster systems for bioenergy innovation and related support policies that can produce positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) leads the project, and the Research Council of Norway funds the project. In addition, the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute and Nordregio, a Nordic research institute for regional studies, are key partners in the project.

For the GREBE partner region of North Karelia, the report summarizes the bioenergy sectors success factors and development, but also challenges related to the utilisation of the sectors potential. The report refers to the OECD Green Growth Studies stating that “many favorable institutional factors for regional innovation are in place in North Karelia: strong local government with willingness to act, local ownership of power utilities, presence of strong research institutes and education facilities, tradition of co-operative organization, legitimacy of local bioenergy production and presence of local and regional actors in several stages in the supply chain”.

As development challenges, the report identifies several aspects, such as changes in forest and bio-energy policy; access to risk finance and other economic challenges facing especially local small and medium-sized enterprises; the challenge of ageing population; and the question of openness of the current innovation platform for innovation and development around other thematic areas than forestry and bio-energy. For instance, bio-economy opportunities in the agri-food sector could be investigated in more detail.

The collaboration with Nordregio and TRIBORN project has provided valuable development information for the bioeconomy sector in North Karelia, as well as comparisons to the sector development in northern Sweden.

Publication Facts

Bioenergy Development in Finland and Sweden: The cases of North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland

Nordregio Working paper 2017:6

ISBN: 978-91-87295-53-9; ISSN: 1403-2503

Editors: Anna Berlina and Nelli Mikkola with contributions by Karen Refsgaard and Alberto Huerta Morales

Full text available for download: http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1147107/FULLTEXT02.pdf

GREBE publishes its sixth project e-zine

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

Since the summer, we have continued to carry out the project activities. Action Renewables published a Report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses, and the Environmental Research Institute has prepared case studies of renewable energy technologies in the partner region which can be downloaded from the GREBE website.

We studied the market access paths of renewable energy and energy storage technologies by using a case-study approach. The case studies 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 Roadmap to Market report as available to download now from the project website here.

Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and we have started to roll it out in Finland, Scotland and Ireland. Details can be found on pages 8 and 9 of our e-zine.

Our e-zine can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here

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