Iceland’s new government puts environmental issues and global warming at the forefront

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A new government was formed in Iceland on the 30th of November after an election in October. The Left Green movement, the independence Party and the Progressive Party joined forces and formed a government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairman of the Leftist-Green Movement is Iceland’s new Prime Minister, making her the second woman to hold that position in Iceland, as well as the first ever socialist leader in the country.

In the government agreement are the environmental issues and global warming at the forefront. Iceland is guided by the goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit the average increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°C from the reference level. The main aim of the government’s climate policy is to avoid negative effects of climate change on marine life. In no other part of the world has the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic. Thus, it is incumbent upon Iceland to conduct more extensive studies of acidification of the ocean in collaboration with the academic community and the fishing industry. Iceland is moreover bound to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, based on the 1990 level, by 2030.

It is the government’s wish to go further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement and to aim to have a carbon-neutral Iceland by 2040 at the latest. The aim is to achieve this by making a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and also through changes in land use in accordance with internationally recognized standards and by incorporating approaches that take account of the local ecology and planning considerations. Support will be given to industrial sectors, individual enterprises, institutions and local authorities in their attempt to set themselves targets pertaining to climate-change.

The government aims to have all major public projects assessed in terms of their impact on the climate-policy targets. Concessions for new investment projects will be subject to the condition that the projects have been assessed in terms of their impact on climate and how they conform to Iceland’s international undertakings regarding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Emphasis will be placed on involving all players in society, and the general public, in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and support will be given to innovation in this sphere. A climate council will be established and a plan of action on emission reductions will be drawn up, with a time-scale, and financed.

The plan of action will include targets regarding transport and the proportion of vehicles powered by environmentally friendly fuels in the total number of vehicles in Iceland, utilization 22 — levels of fuel and power in business and industry, the introduction of international conventions on the protection of the oceans, ‘green steps’ in state operations and a Climate Fund, and moves will be made to prohibit the use of heavy oil in vessels within Iceland’s economic zone. Collaboration will be established with sheep farmers on neutralizing the carbon emissions from sheep farming in accordance with a plan of action. Other production sectors will also be invited to collaborate on comparable projects.

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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.

Innovation Center Iceland holds its Industry Advisory Group meeting

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First regional IAG (Industry Advisory group) meeting was held in Iceland last week in Reykjavík. The formation of the group is to provide input and advice on the implementation of the GREBE project in Iceland.  The Group shall meet once a year in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and ICI in in charge of organizing the meetings.

On the meeting GREBE project was introduced and members circulated about the project relevance in Iceland and how it could affect their business. Members discussed opportunities in renewable energy and technology, and knowledge transfer between GREBE partners.  Next meeting will be held in 2017.

Iceland Regional industry advisory group.

Kristján Leósson from Innovation Center Iceland (www.nmi.is)

Sigurður Friðleifsson from Iceland Energy agency (www.orkusetur.is)

Viðar Helgason frá Iceland Geothermal (www.icelandgeothermal.is)

Salóme Guðmunsdóttir Start up energy Reykjavík   (www.startupenergyreykjavik.com)

Valur Rafn Halldórsson from the associations of municipalities on cold areas.  (skss.is)

Harpa Pétursdóttir chairman of The Association of Women in Energy (https://www.facebook.com/konuriorkumalum/?fref=ts)

Skírnir Sigurbjörnsson from Arctic Hydro (www.arctichydro.is)

Sæþór Ásgeirsson from Icewind (www.icewind.is)

GREBE Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

Finland IAG meeting
GREBE partner Robert Prinz (LUKE) presenting project objectives at the Finnish Industry Advisory Group meeting

GREBE Industry Advisory Groups provide their insights on how project activities can most effectively be implemented in the region, how project can link and work together with other activities and results be disseminated to various beneficiaries.

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. The first meeting was organized at LUKE, Joensuu office in Tuesday 15th of March.

GREBE IAG meeting introduced the project (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The group discussion provided many valuable insights for the GREBE activities. For instance, the networks of companies and of research and development could be linked better with each other. Recommendations were given for the development of the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme. Currently mentoring is not a common practice in the region, but it was considered to have good potential. As a positive trend, the RE enterprises are increasingly cooperating and sharing information with each other.

IAG also discussed on how to share the information about GREBE among their wider networks and contribute to the policy development activities of the project.