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.

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GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme is now open for applications in Ireland

GREBE EES SME advertV2

The GREBE Project is launching the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Ireland.  GREBE will work with small to medium renewable energy businesses throughout the Western Region to provide support to facilitate their growth through specialised mentoring.

The Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will commission mentors with the appropriate expertise to be assigned to work with businesses to address identified area(s) where help is needed, in order to deliver a bespoke support package.

Applications are welcomed from all small to medium renewable energy businesses, based in the Western Region (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway & Clare).   Participating businesses will be matched with an appropriate mentor to meet their business needs, based on areas of specialism and scoring.

An Expression of Interest application form may be downloaded from the GREBE website here or requested by email from paulineleonard@wdc.ie

Completed applications must be returned to GREBE Project, Western Development Commission, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, or alternatively via email: paulineleonard@wdc.ie not later than 12.00 Noon on Friday 17th November 2017.

This project is funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme.   For further information on the GREBE Project, please visit our website www.grebeproject.eu

Brexit implications for business and the environment in Northern Ireland

Brexit

In addition to the 2020 renewable energy and environmental objectives, the EU has defined its new   objectives for 2030. They are a 40% reduction of greenhouse gasses, a 27% improvement in energy efficiency and a 27% share of renewable energy in the primary energy supply. This objective has been defined, including the United Kingdom and revolves around two main axes: the reduction of greenhouse gasses and the share of renewable energy in the energy supply. The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU will impact on the total commitment made for 2030.

It is unclear how this will affect Northern Ireland, which never had legally binding targets, but was expected to contribute to the overall UK commitment. Much of our Environmental and Renewable energy targets were driven by EU Directives and it remains to be seen if the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has not convened since January 2017, because of political issues, has the determination to continue to support the environment, and mitigate climate change.

Businesses in Northern Ireland have to cope with a great deal of uncertainty, even more so than their UK counterparts, because of the land border with Ireland. Over the last twelve months, since the vote for Brexit, there has little clarity about what might happen in Northern Ireland, because the political plans for the shape of Brexit have not yet been drawn up.

If, during the course of the last year, there was greater clarity about how Brexit might be delivered, then businesses could now be clearer about what they will need to do to cope with Brexit. It is remarkable that after a year, businesses probably know less about the future shape of Brexit than they did a year ago, because the roadmap is less clear and it has become even more unclear, because of the UK General Election. The level of uncertainty has increased over the year,  rather than diminished.

The issues surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive, in Northern Ireland, have created a situation where there now appears to be a low level of trust, in both Government circles, and within social society for renewable energy. It makes the work of GREBE even more relevant in Northern Ireland, than before, and highlights the need for future policy initiatives, to support RE businesses which are trying to survive and to grow.