Scottish firms exporting renewables expertise worldwide

eri-11-03-2016

Research by Glasgow based industry body Scottish Renewables has found firms from across Scotland are working in countries as diverse as China, Russia, Taiwan and Cape Verde and are now active on every continent bar Antarctica.

Across the Northern Periphery and Arctic area Scottish companies have been active in the Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway, Sweden as well as other northern countries including Canada and Russia. Firms have been involved in projects totalling £125.3 million across 43 countries.

Businesses have included Orkney based consultancy Aquatera which has been involved in creating marine energy projects across the United States, Chile, Japan, Columbia, Peru and Indonesia.  An Ayrshire based crane company, Windhoist, has installed more than 4,800 wind turbines across the globe whilst Glasgow’s Star Renewable Energy has installed a heat pump in Drammen, Norway, which now provides warmth for the city’s 63,000 residents.   Jenny Hogan of Scottish Renewables has said “This research clearly shows that Scotland’s expertise in renewable energy is in demand around the world.”

“The stretching targets set in Scotland have meant our home-grown green energy industry has developed skills which are in demand on every inhabited continent, bringing investment and income to Scotland from across the world.”

The Scottish Government has welcomed the figures as evidence of low carbon industries to the Scottish economy.  Business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse added: “Low-carbon industries and their supply chains generated almost £11 billion in 2014 and supported 43,500 jobs, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics published recently. “Together with this new research from Scottish Renewables, the figures reinforce the growing importance of the low-carbon industries, including renewable energy businesses, to the Scottish economy and vindicates the Scottish Government’s support for the sector and the increasingly crucial role it plays within our energy mix and the wider economy.”

GREBE E-Zine No. 2 is launched

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

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Since our e-zine in May, we have been working on implementing some of our project activities and this e-zine will highlight details of our new website, our Industry Advisory Group meetings, Policy Workshops, partner meetings in Inverness and Iceland, and the launch of the Northern Ireland pilot of our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme.

To read our e-zine, please click here

The GREBE Project visits Iceland

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The GREBE project partners will hold their fourth partner meeting in Reykjavik and Isafjordur in Iceland this week.  We have a busy schedule planned with the Western Development Commission (www.wdc.ie) and Innovation Center Iceland (http://www.nmi.is/english) working to co-ordinate the programme to fit in as much as possible.

On Tuesday morning, we’ll hold a Policy Workshop at Innovation Center Icelands offices in Reykjavik, this will be followed by a meeting with XRG Energy http://www.xrgpower.com/, the first part of our partner meeting and a Steering Committee meeting.   Then on Wednesday we have a packed day, with site visits to Auðlindagarður Svartsengi (http://www.resourcepark.is/) and the IDDP project (http://www.landsvirkjun.com/researchdevelopment/research/iddpproject/) as we travel to Isafjordur.

On Thursday and Friday, we will continue our project meeting at the Innovation Center Icelands offices in Isafjordur.

The new GREBE website is live !

GREBE website 2

The new GREBE project website www.grebeproject.eu has been created by Future Analytics Consulting Ltd. (http://futureanalytics.ie/). The website builds on the branding theme created with the logo, which takes inspiration from the NPA programme and the priority (entrepreneurship) under which GREBE is funded.  The three hexagons in our logo reflect the entrepreneurs networking and sharing ideas, the renewable energy technologies, and the importance of renewable energy in everyday life.

Our website has information about the GREBE project, its aims and objectives, project deliverables, project partners and the NPA Programme.   We also have a section on our project activities and some information about renewable energy.   As the GREBE project progress, we will add more areas to the website and upload reports and guidelines to our ‘Publications’ page.

Visit the site to register your interest in the GREBE project.  If you would like more information on the GREBE project, please contact us at info@grebeproject.eu

European Union policy for the Arctic

NSP 06-07-2016

The Arctic states have primary responsibility for tackling issues within their territories, many of the issues affecting the Arctic region can be more effectively addressed through multilateral cooperation.

This is why EU engagement is important in the Arctic region. Building on previous initiatives, the European Parliament has started the work on developing an integrated European Union policy for the Arctic – that focuses on advancing international cooperation in responding to the impacts of climate change on the Arctic’s fragile environment, and promoting and contributing to sustainable development in the European part of the Arctic (EU –Commission resolution by 27.04.2016).

  1. BACKGROUND

Reasons for EU’s focus on the Arctic region:

Climate change – In recent years, the Arctic’s role in climate change has become much more prominent. Wheras in the past attention focused almost solely on the effects of climate change in the Arctic, more recently there has been growing awarness that feedback loops are turning the Arctic into a contributor to climate change. Understanding these dynamics, and helping to develop specific strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Arctic, will form the EU’s wider efforts to combat climate change.

Arctic environment – Given the important role of Arctic as a regulator for the climate of the planet and acting as a sink for long-range pollution, the EU has a duty to protect the fragile Arctic environment and strengthen ecosystem resilience. The EU Arctic policy will be an important element to produce the adaptation strategies that are needed to help Arctic inhabitants respond to the serious challenges they face because of climate change.

Sustainable development – Taking in to account both the traditional livelihoods of those living in the region and the impact of economic development on the Arctic’s fragile environment. The EU should contribute to enhancing the economic and environmental resilience of societies in the Arctic. A number of EU activities and decisions are having an impact on economic developments in the Arctic region and EU is a major consumer of products coming from the Arctic states, such as fish products and energy. Investment by European companies can help advance sustainable development in the Arctic region.

International strategic importance – In recent years, the arctic region has acquired a higher profile in international relations due to its increasing environmental, economic and strategic importance. The EU already contributes substantially to Arctic research and regional developments. The opportunities of the Arctic can also increase tensions in the region – thorough competition for the resources and increasing economic activity. It is now more important than ever to ensure that the Arctic remains a zone of peace and constructive international cooperation.

Investment – A recent report: “A Strategic Vision for the North – May 2015” estimated investment opportunities in the Barents region alone to be EUR 140 billion. Regional ‘Smart specialisation strategies’ combined with EU funding, can help to develop local models of sustainable growth and job creation in the European Arctic with potential benefits across the EU:

  • Investment by European private capital
  • Investment by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
  • Activities under the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE)

2. PRIORITY AREAS

Against this background the European Parliament has asked the Commission for Foreign Affairs to develop an integrated policy on Arctic matters, and to develop a framework for EU action and funding programmes that focuses on three priority areas:

  • Climate change and safeguarding the Arctic environment
  • Sustainable development in and around the Arctic
  • International cooperation on Arctic issues

The main target for the EU Arctic policy is research and innovation – which will play a key role across all the three priority areas.

3. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AND AROUND THE ARCTIC

Sustainable economic development faces specific challenges in the Arctic region. Compared with other parts of Europe, the European part of the Arctic region is rich in natural resources such as fish, minerals, oil and gas – but is characterised by lack of transport links such as road, rail and flight connections, and has a sparse population spread over a wide area.

This means that the European part of the Arctic region has a significant potential to support growth in the rest of Europe. Through its’ Member State and its’ close ties with Iceland and Norway, as members of the European Economic Area (EEA), the EU can play an influential role in shaping the future development of the European part of the Arctic through the application of EU rules relevant for the EEA and the deployment of financial instruments.

The climate of the Arctic region makes it an ideal innovation site for cold climate technologies and services. Harsh climatic conditions and fragile environment require specialised technology and know-how to meet high environmental standards – and a lot of other opportunities. The European Commission will help to monitor opportunities in the Arctic region by giving priority to:

  1. Sustainable economic activities and innovation:
  • Cold Climate Technology
  • SME Competitivness and innovation
  • Climate research
  • Green Economy – Renewable energy/Multi-source energy systems
  • Blue Economy – Aquaculture, fisheries, marine biotechnology

     2. Project financing through EU territorial cooperation programmes:

  • Interreg Nord
  • Botnia-Atlantica Programme
  • The Baltic Sea Region Programme
  • The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme
  • The Kolarctic cross-border cooperation programmes

 3.  Innovation support:

  • ESIF Programmes
  • Horizon 2020
  • European Investment Bank Group
  • The European Enterprise Network
  • European Arctic Stakeholder Forum
  • Arctic EU Funds
  • European Investment Advisory Hub
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

 4. Infrastructure Projects:

  • European Investment Bank (Transport connections, telecom, energy efficiency)
  • Trans-European network for Transport (TENT)

 

EUROPEAN ARCTIC STAKEHOLDER FORUM

Consultations between the Commission and the European External Action Service has lead to the conclusion that the Arctic region is suffering from underinvestment. Recognising this, the Comission will set up a European Arctic stakeholder forum with the aim to enhancing collaboration and coordination between different funding programmes. This temporary forum should bring together EU institutions, Member States, and regional authorities to contribute to identifying key investment and research priorities for EU funds in the region.

Complementary to the forum, the NPA programme will lead a pilot activity aiming at bringing together a network of managing authorities and stakeholders from various regional development programmes in the European part of the Arctic. It is to facilitate the exchange of information, plan and coordinate calls for proposals and monitor the impact of programmes on the region. The new collaborative network will also be open to participation by relevant national and international financing instruments. The network feeds into the work of the stakeholder forum in identifying the research and investment priorities.

To bring the results of the forum and network, the Commission will fund and facilitate an annual Arctic stakeholder conference in the European Arctic region – after 2017 – to strengthen collaboration and networking between stakeholders to improve international project development in the Arctic region.

CONCLUSIONS

Through its Member State and its close ties with Iceland and Norway, the EU would play an influential role in shaping the future development of the European part of the Arctic through EU rules relevant for the EEA and the deployment of financial instruments focusing on innovation priority areas, project financing, innovation support and infrastructure programmes.

The European policy for the Arctic region would guide the EU’s actions for the coming years, but the Commission will keep the Arctic policy under review in light of developments. This will als ogive the participants in the GREBE-Project opportunity to contribute to identifying key investment and research priorities to EU – through the European stakeholder forum and the NPA stakeholder network and take part in and bring result in to the annual Arctic stakeholder conference in 2018. Work Package 4 with focus on SME innovation and harsh climate conditions challenging the opportunities in the ‘Green Economy’ sector.

The rich resources of the Arctic region has the potential to support economic growth in the rest of Europe, and the strategic importance of the Arctic region has increased as a result of this – and the willingness to invest in the area is huge, both from EU investment fund and EU innovation programmes.

The GREBE-Project has participants from the Arctic region and EU – so the integrated EU policy for the Arctic gives the GREBE-projects opportunities to have an influence on the priority of identifying key investment area for the renewable energy sector in the arctic region.

GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme participants selected in Northern Ireland

Mentoring image

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) have now selected the 12 participants for the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme under the GREBE project.  It was interesting and challenging to make the final selection.  FODC are keen to support all those applicants but having had to make a decision, will try and support those not selected in perhaps more appropriate ways.

The process of mentoring involves companies engaging with external experts whose role is to support and challenge the business to address issues which may be adversely affecting their capacity to grow and develop.  The GREBE pilot will work with a range of companies all engaged in a wide variety of activities around renewable energy.  These companies have indicated there is something with which they need specific assistance.

Mentor matching has now complete and we can confirm that first meetings have taken place.  Details of the businesses selected will be published in our next GREBE E-zine which will be published and circulated in August.  After this, we will focus on one company at a time and write summary case studies to demonstrate how the support measures are working for the businesses, as the project moves forward.  These will also be published on our social media platforms.

Over the next number of months, we will be working with these businesses to address some of the challenges that face entrepreneurs working in the renewable energy sector.  The inputs and outputs from this engagement will provide an exemplar of how businesses operating in this sector can be best assisted to operate.

The pilot will then be rolled out across the whole GREBE project which covers regions including Finland, Iceland, Norway, Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

The FODC project co-ordinator for GREBE, Una Porteous spoke of how exciting it is to have gotten to this part of the project where mentors are now in position and able to commence work with the businesses.

Norway to fund 8 new centres for Environment – friendly Energy Research

NSP image 06-06-2016

The Research Council of Norway has granted funding to 8 new centres for Environment- friendly Energy Research. Each new centre is guaranteed an annual funding for up to eight years. The total annual allocations from the Research Council to the centres will be roughly NOK 160 million.

The centres were selected on the basis of scientific merit, potential for innovation and value creation, and the extent to which they fulfill government targets relating to energy and greenhouse gas emission.

The 8 new Centres will start up in 2017 – and be fully operating from 2018. The Centres will work to reduce greenhouse gas emission in Norway and inrenationally, utilise energy more efficently, and increase the production of renewable energy. The Centres will also has as a task to disseminate the results of their research and contribute to a knowledge-based debate on environment-friendly energy.

Long-Term Initiative

The funding of the centres is a long-term initiative from the Research Council to generate solutions to climate – and energy- related challenges and promote industrial development. The centres comprise dynamic research groups and a large number of user partners from trade and industry and the public sector. The user partners will take active part in the centres management, financing and research activities.

The long-term perspective for each centre provide greater opportunity to achieve valuable results in the field of energy and climate research – results that can also be applied in trade and industry for added value. The long-term initiative is designed an build upon:

  1. Long-term Perspective
  2. Stable financial framework
  3. Outstanding research environments
  4. Industrial actors
  5. Public administration
  6. Cooperation between research, Industry and public administration

 The 8 new centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research:

Centre:   (1) Norwegian CCS Research Centre –
Focus Area: Co2 – capture, transport and storage
Research: SINTEF Energy Research
Industry: 25 Partners

 

Centre:   (2) Norwegian Research Centre for Hydropower Technology
Focus Area: –          Develop Hydropower technology for the future

–          New solutions for utilising flexible hydropower

Research: Norwegian University of science and Technology (NTNU)
Industry: 31 Partners

 

Centre:   (3) Norwegian Centre for Sustainable Bio-based Fuels and Energy
Focus Area: –          Develop technology for second-generation biofuels

–          Achieve 30 per cent reduction in production cost

Research: Norwegian University of Life Science (UMB)
Industry: 40 Partners

 

Centre:   (4) Centre for Intelligent Electricity Distribution
Focus Area: –          Modernisation of the electricity grid (Flexibility, Efficiency)

–          Enable the grid to handle interactions with renewable energy

Research: SINTEF Energy Research
Industry: 26 Partners

 

Centre:   (5) Centre for an Energy Efficient and Competitive Industry for the future
Focus Area: Raising energy efficiency in Norwegian Industry
Research: SINTEF Energy Research
Industry: 36 Partners

 

Centre:   (6) Research Centre for Sustainable Solar Cell Technology
Focus Area: –          Production of silicon-based solar cells

–          Developing the world’s most environment-friendly process

Research: Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)
Industry: 15 Partners

 

Centre:   (7) Mobility Zero Emission Energy Systems
Focus Area: –          Energy for the transport sector (Hydrogen + Batteries)

–          Business models for zero-emission transport

Research: Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)
Industry: 38 Partners

 

Centre:   (8) The Research Centre for Smart Cities
Focus Area: –          Solutions for zero-emission zones in smart cities

–          Renewable energy benefit for local environment

Research: Norwegian Univercity of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Industry: 32 Partners

 

Proactive integration of environmental protection and renewable development

There is often seen to be a conflict between conservation charities and renewable developers. In the UK the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is often perceived as one of the more vocal of these charities, with wind farms and associated bird displacement and strikes being one of the most of controversial issues.

However, in a newly released report “The RSPB’s 2050 energy vision” UK wide spatial analysis is undertaken, proactively identifying sites for renewable development which would have a low ecological impact (see Figure 1).

ERI image v2

Figure 1. Indicative areas of opportunity for the deployment of renewable technologies in the UK with low/unknown ecological sensitivity, taking into account physical constraints, policy constraints and areas of high/medium ecological sensitivity. Image taken from The RSPB’s 2050 Energy Vision.

The report raises three key points for renewable energy in Scotland:

  • Onshore wind, which has already shown strong progress in Scotland, could continue to develop in harmony with nature. Up to 41 TWh/year could be generated if carefully planned, more than trebling generation from 2014 levels. Repowering existing well planned sites may be an opportunity to increase capacity at low ecological impact.
  • There is very limited capacity for fixed offshore wind (up to 2.3 GW installed capacity) in shallow waters without significant risks to wildlife, unless knowledge of impacts improves, enabling ecologically sustainable development. In the long term, however, there is vast potential for floating wind in deeper waters.
  • There are also large areas potentially suitable for wave energy generation at low ecological risk, if the industry is supported to enable commercialisation.

Additionally, the report suggests Scotland could increase its solar production to 30 times its current level. However, the low power density of this resource in Scotland, coupled with large reductions in subsidy levels, means exploitation on this scale is unlikely.

Overall, the report has been well received by the renewable industry in Scotland, with Scottish Renewables (the representative body of the Scottish renewable energy industry) describing it as “positive”. Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables describes the research as clearly showing: “that meeting our renewable energy targets and protecting our natural environment can go hand-in-hand.”

Such studies pre-emptively identifying areas which are environmentally unsuitable for renewables should help streamline the consenting process; with opposition on environmental grounds being decreased, reducing time and costs for developers. As such initiatives like this should be encouraged; however, the findings should be treated with caution. In this instance the huge reliance on floating offshore wind to create large headline figures should be noted; floating offshore wind accounts for ~90% of the resource identified. Such heavily reliance on floating wind should be treated with caution as although it certainly has huge potential the development of the world’s first commercial site is only just beginning Scotland. So as always, particularly on a 2050 timeframe, studies should be treated with scepticism but this study is certainly a proactive step forward in the relationship between one of the UK’s major conservation charities and the renewable sector.

For greater details on the report visit: http://www.rspb.org.uk/whatwedo/projects/details.aspx?id=350939

GREBE E-Zine is launched !

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GREBE has launched an e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.

The first issue of the GREBE E-zine provides an overview of the projects aims and objectives and how the GREBE project will support renewable energy start-ups and SMEs in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) region.   This issue places a spotlight on the international launch of the project, which took place in Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland in February 2016.

GREBE Project Launch2

We will look at each of the project partners, Western Development Commission (ROI), Action Renewables (NI), Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (NI), Environmental Research Institute (SCO), LUKE (FI), Karelia University of Applied Sciences (FI), Narvik Science Park (NOR) and Innovation Center Iceland (ICE), the renewable energy sector in their region and activities in the project.

GREBE Partners

 

To read the GREBE E-Zine issue 1, click here

Excellent response to GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland

EES Launch
Una Porteous of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council presenting at the Entrepreneur Scheme Launch in Balcas, Enniskillen in March 2016

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have been delighted with the response to the call for businesses to engage with the GREBE project. The project has been oversubscribed and we are currently in the process of determining which businesses will be supported through the assistance available within the project. 

The applicants are representative of a range of providers across the Renewable sector, including some social enterprises, CHP providers, those involved in AD, biomass and those impacted by the removal of the RHI support that had previously been available.

The project co-ordinator for GREBE in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Una Porteous, can confirm that once selected these businesses will be involved in mentoring support to assist them in progressing within the RE sector and the diversity of activity that will be represented in the choice, will reflect the range of opportunities that exists for this sector in spite of the challenges that they have to deal with.