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.
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
Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and micro-scale enterprises (new and established) have a key role to play in generating new employment in peripheral regions. However, from knowledge of local markets it is clear that only small numbers of SMEs are consistent in generating new employment opportunities i.e. they are successful growth enterprises. SMEs that are most successful are those that successfully deployed growth strategies to optimize their business activities.
The growth strategy guideline reviews successful business growth strategies for SMEs and micro-scale enterprises in the NPA regions and analyses how these can be adapted for application to the RE sector. Business growth strategies based on new RE and energy storage technologies are identified by a case-based approach. Successful strategies allowing for business growth in current or new domestic or international market areas are available for replication across the NPA area facilitating economic growth and improved market access of new RE solutions.
The guideline report introduces firstly the contexts of business growth and main types of growth strategies. Secondly, it provides a baseline of business growth issues, preconditions of growth and support needs, basing on a transnational survey for 70 business enterprises in the NPA region. Thirdly, it provides examples of the growth strategies in renewable energy and energy storage sectors. Finally, conclusions provide more generic guidelines for the business growth strategies in the sector.
The guideline report is available for download on the GREBE website here
One of the biggest challenges faced by the communities of the Westfjords of Iceland is to secure electricity. The region is not self-sufficient with electricity and needs to “import” electricity from other parts of Iceland. Only one power line drives electricity to the region and it lies over high mountains. As the northerly location of the region implies it often faces severe weather conditions and the mountaintops can be hazardous during winter storms.
This is an ongoing challenge which was recently addressed at a conference attended by most of the major stakeholders both local and national. The Minister of Industries and Innovation, Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, responsible for energy affairs in Iceland on behalf of the government, was among speakers at the conference. In her speech she expressed an interest on behalf of the national government to solve the issues pertaining to creating a more sustainable energy production in the Westfjords.
Other speakers came from the public energy institutions, Landsnet which operate Iceland’s electricity transmission grid, National Energy Authority, Orkubú Vestfjarða (Westfjord Power Company) and energy entrepreneurs in the region.
All evidence points towards increasing demand for electricity in the region. Speakers at the conference agreed that it´s possible to harness more hydro energy. Really good options are available in hydro electricity production in the region but the problem is that they are far away from the main grid. This distance is among the main issues the national government and local actors need to solve. The conference was a small milestone where the stakeholders had a successful discussion on the topic and how it is possible to overcome that barrier.
With an energy system almost entirely based on renewable hydropower, Norway is well suited for hosting power consuming data storage centres. This is one of several business opportunities the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy – Mr. Tord Lien, recommend that the GREBE-Project look closer into.
According to a story in the Telegraph, teenagers spend on average 27 hours on the internet every week. The parent generation is quickly catching up, spending about 20 hours per week. We read the newspaper online, interact with friends and family on social media, stream music and films, and even buy our Christmas presents on the internet.
As we see a growing trend from physical products to digital services, the need for storing data has exploded. Enormous amounts of data needs to be processed and stored, and the computer facilities depend on energy intensive cooling systems. This also affects the climate, as much of the power comes from fossil fuel power plants.
This is where geography matters and why Norway is an attractive location for such power-consuming datacentres. With an energy system almost entirely based on hydropower, Norway is one of the very few countries in the world with a surplus production of renewable energy. This has also resulted in one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe. Nearly all projections indicate that Norway will enjoy such an abundance of renewable energy for a long time. Furthermore, the Norwegian climate is quite cold and chilly. This provides excellent conditions for natural cooling.
Norway has both the green energy and the climate to be a suitable host for energy consuming datacentres. Together with favourable investments conditions, this makes us a great location for the digital revolution. Geography still matters, even though computing is moving into the clouds.