A leading company that provides renewable energy advice has released its latest policy document which outlines areas for improvement for the north’s renewable landscape. ‘Proposal for a renewable future’ produced by Action Renewables, focuses on issues such as energy efficiency, green gas, renewable transport, security of supply, renewable heat and job security. Each focus comes with recommendation’s which are aimed at encouraging debate within the sector and driving forward the development of new policies and goals.
The document emphasizes the growing threat to the renewables industry in the north highlighting the potential loss of more than 3,000 jobs in the sector due to a ‘lack of clear policy and withdrawal of incentives’. According to the report one-third of total energy consumption in the north occurs through the transport sector with 94 per cent of this associated with petrol and diesel in road vehicles. The document also draws upon the possibility of imported fossil fuel prices rising post-Brexit and suggests generating renewable energy from local sources.
Action Renewables announced the launch of its most recent policy document at the European Energy Policy Forum which had over 100 delegates in attendance. Topics covered at the event included renewable energy opportunities for SME’s, hydropower energy recovery technology, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Michael Doran, managing director at Action Renewables said: “The large turnout for our first European Energy Policy Forum highlights the appetite in Northern Ireland to continue to develop and implement renewable energy technologies to help reach our renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets. Developed in 2010 with a ten-year implementation plan and 2020 targets for heat and electricity, the Strategic Energy Framework’s deadlines are looming, and with the current policy vacuum in place within our government, Action Renewables has produced our most recent policy document to encourage conversation and continued growth within the sector to meet these targets and improve the long-term forecast for renewable energy in Northern Ireland.
“We look forward to stimulating debate and ultimately driving our renewables sector forward locally following distribution of this document and with the on-going work of our collaborative networking organisation, AREA, which provides expert renewable energy advice to members.”
The Scottish government revealed far-reaching novel strategies to increase the use of renewable fuel in electricity, transport and heat across the country, under its first ever Energy Strategy. Business, Energy and Innovation minister Paul Wheelhouse said in a statement:
“This strategy recognises and builds on our achievements to date and on Scotland’s capacity for innovation. It places consumers, and their interests, more firmly than ever at the heart of everything that we do. We are leading the way in promoting community and locally owned renewable energy – well ahead of the rest of the UK – as figures announced today demonstrate. This strategy will guide decisions of the Scottish government over the coming decades. We want to make sure, within the scope of our devolved powers, good stewardship of Scotland’s energy sector – something we have called the UK government to step up to for years.”
The Strategy sets a new objective for at least 50% of all Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030. Another target set by the Scottish government is a 30% increase in energy productivity across the economy. To drive advancement towards the new targets, the Scottish government promised £80m fresh investment in the energy sector – £60m for low-carbon innovation and £20m for energy investment, coupled with, a confirmation for a publicly owned energy company.
Scotland’s first Energy Strategy was published on the 20th December 2017 and details can be found here – http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00529523.pdf
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/
The GREBE Project has published a report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses. The report can be downloaded from the GREBE Website here
The key objective of this report was to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supportive framework for sustainable renewable energy business (both new and emerging). The focus of this report was on the support and benefits that each case study received, including how the supports and benefits helped each business in terms of creating employment, finance or diversifying their business. This report examines the funding mechanisms, criteria, application practicalities and business outcomes and innovations in the case studies.
When carrying out the report, the most popular funding mechanisms available to the renewable energy businesses were research & development supports and also financial supports. In Ireland one company received a support towards creating employment through the JobsPlus scheme. JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities. On the other hand support mechanisms such as social support, were not as popular throughout the partner regions.
Through analysing the chosen case studies, Finland, Iceland and Scotland have a number of different funding mechanisms were available to companies for certain types of projects, whereas in Northern Ireland only one type of support was available for certain projects.
All of the funding supports discussed throughout this report can be found in the GREBE business support catalogue at: http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Business-Supports-Catalog.pdf
The full report can be viewed at: http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/GREBE-Report-on-Awareness-Understanding-of-Funding-Options-August-2017.pdf