Action Renewables is the lead partner for Work Package 3 on Policy and Funding Mechanisms, within the GREBE project. Part of this work package is to organise policy workshops in each partner region. To date Action Renewables has participated in five policy workshops. Since the start of 2017, there have been three workshops in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland. The purpose of these workshops is to involve and support stakeholders within the renewable energy sector.
During the workshops we discuss the advantages / disadvantages of local policies for that area and discuss how they can be improved to help the economy. The policy workshops will involve representatives of relevant bodies and Government departments that set the renewable energy policy agendas. Each policy workshop has been different. The reason for this, the conditions within each country are different and they are different policies. All of the policy workshops were chaired by Michael Doran and Mark Corrigan of Action Renewables. Our Norwegian partner Narvik Science Park which hold a policy workshop in April and it is our intention all will be completed before June 2017. We will then have a list of potential new policy mechanisms which will support different partner regions.
The Northern Ireland policy workshop was hosted by South West College at their Dungannon campus on the 11th January. For this workshop we had 10 representatives, who came from different sectors throughout Northern Ireland, including the Department of Environment, Invest NI, Fermanagh Omagh District Council, Fermanagh Enterprise and the Ulster Farmers Union.
This policy workshop focussed on the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland and the lack of new policy development, and how this will have an impact on the economy. Northern Ireland will have no policy supports for the sector after the 31st of March 2017.
Action Renewables chaired the Scotland policy workshop on the 26th January. This workshop was organised by the University of Highlands & Islands and was held in Inverness. For this policy workshop, we had the privilege of four guest speakers
HWenergy provided an “Overview of current renewable energy policies and constraints”,
Scottish Enterprise on “The solutions that exist within Highland & Island Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise”,
Local Energy Scotland, on “Community participation in RE” and
Community Energy Scotland on “Communities constrained by the existing policies”
Scotland are very advanced on policies that support the renewable energy sector. To date Scotland have 18 policy mechanisms, which support the sector and is a popular area for wind and hydro. Many of their support mechanisms are for SMEs looking to enter the renewable energy industry.
Finlands policy workshop took place in Joensuu on the 9th February. Finland is mainly focused on its forestry sector, so therefore biomass is their main focus. At the policy workshop we had 12 participants from a variety of different sectors. We also had the honour of the following guest speakers:
Regional Council of North Karelia – Presenter Anniina Kontiokorpi outlined how they are preparing an implementation plan (roadmap) for North Karelia to achieve ambitious aims established in their Climate and Energy Program.
Mayor Asko Saatsi from the City of Nurmes – In Nurmes, bioenergy projects (bio refineries) are essential part of local development strategy.
Mika Juvonen, CEO/Bio10 Ltd. – Mika Juvonen has established organic waste treatment/biogas plant in Kitee. He has been actively informing policies and been able to reduce barriers identified in sector.
One of the objectives of the GREBE work package on Policy & Funding Mechanisms for renewable energy businesses is to ‘identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supporting framework for sustainable renewable energy (RE) business (both new and emerging)’.
This work package is a fundamental part of identifying the existing policies that already exist in each partner region and assessing how effective these policies have been throughout their life span. The main aim of this work package is to identify new initiatives that will promote RE entrepreneurship in each partner region and to ensure that further positive interventions continue to be made.
Action Renewables have published a summary report of the relevant policy initiatives and schemes in each of the partner regions. This report can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here. This involved carrying out a comprehensive desktop review of the policy framework for all partner regions and collating and analysing information supplied by the project partners. This report will seek to examine the impact and influence of policy initiatives in terms of how they support business development for RE entrepreneurship, established businesses in the RE sector, and emerging micro-enterprises and SME’s looking to enter this market. The focus of the report is on entrepreneurial business activity which supports RE development, not incentives or obligations.
The RE sector is heavily influenced by and reliant on a supporting policy framework. It requires policy stimulation to enact behavioural change, to incentivise the increase of RE, to promote R&D in new technology adoption and to encourage investment. While all policies have broadly similar aims, the make-up of many of the initiatives and schemes are varied. This can be partly explained by the existence of different governance structures in each partner region.
Each partner has provided information on existing policies related to developing business opportunities in the RE sector. This information will help ensure the work package objectives can be carried out successfully. A SCOT (Strengths, Constraints, Opportunities and Threats) analysis has been carried out on each policy initiative so that policy barriers and facilitators for RE enterprises are clearly identified. The policies have been carefully categorised into the following:
Emerging micro –enterprises & SME’s looking to enter the RE market
Support business development for RE entrepreneurship
Established businesses in the RE sector
Based on the analysis and further research Action Renewables has created a report analysing which policy initiatives have been successful and why. It is important to recognise that the effectiveness of policies can be difficult to assess. Many policies aim to accomplish broad conceptual goals that are subject to different interpretations and are difficult to quantify. Policy assessment can also be challenging as many of the targets set can be overly ambitious and hard to achieve. Variations in natural resources from region to region will also have an impact on making a comparative analysis. (Source: Boundless. “Policy Evaluation.” Boundless Political Science. Boundless, 17 Jun. 2016. Retrieved 22 Aug. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/political-science/textbooks/boundless-political-science-textbook/domestic-policy-15/the-policy-making-process-95/policy-evaluation-517-6176/)
This report can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website
The fourth partner meeting of GREBE project was held in the third week of September in Ísafjörður Iceland. Before the actual meeting we had a successful policy meeting in Reykjavík. The policy meeting is part of the GREBE project and have similar meetings been held in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Finland. One of the key objectives is to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supporting framework for sustainable renewable energy business. Current policy framework has been reviewed in each partner region. Michael Doran director of Action Renewables and partner in GREBE presented the summary report on the meeting in Reykjavík. The report is available in GREBE´s homepage www.grebeproject.eu.
Furthermore, several informative presentations were delivered on Iceland´s policy in renewable energy. Ingvi Már Pálsson, Director of the Department of Energy and industry in the Ministry of Industry and commerce (www.anr.is ), presented government policy in the field of renewable energy in Iceland. Baldur Pétursson from the National Energy Authority (www.os.is) discussed the regulations and the support system for RE business in Iceland and Jón Björn Skúlason, general manager for Nýorka (www.newenergy.is), looked into challenges with integration of eco-friendly fuels.
After the policy meeting we had several site visits on the way to Ísafjörður. First stop was the Innovation Center Iceland (www.nmi.is) were Kristján Leosson managing director for Materials, Biotechnology and Energy told us about the startup company XRG Power (https://greberenewableenergyblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/xrg-power-in-iceland/) and other ongoing projects at his department. We also met HS Orka (www.hsorka.is) were Albert Albertsson the concept creator of the Geothermal Resource park welcomed us. (http://static.bordar.is/audlindagardur/straumakort_en.mp4). Finally we met with Einar Hreinsson specialist at Marine Research Institute which introduced us to prototype of a new fishing gear where light is used as a herding stimulus. This fishing gear has a considerable reduction of towing resistance, compared to conventional trawls and could cut fuel costs per kg fish caught by 40%.