New scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels launched today

solarPanelsRoofInstall_large

A new scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels has been launched this morning. The pilot scheme offers grants for the installation of solar panels and extra funds to install battery storage systems.  Environment Minister Denis Naughten says the scheme will allow people to turn their home into their very own “renewable power station.” He said homeowners can save around €220 in electricity costs every year by taking advantage of the scheme.

Announcing the grants for homeowners, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD said: “Turning your home into a renewable power station is now one step closer. Microgeneration is an incredibly exciting space that will allow citizens in local communities to generate their own electricity and contribute towards Ireland’s climate action targets. With this grant that I am announcing today, a typical 3-bed semi-detached house would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and would save approximately €220 per year on their electricity bills.”

The Minister added: “The pilot scheme will be subject to a 6-month review at which time the costs of installation will be assessed and further opportunities to broaden this scheme to other groups and other technologies will be explored.” The scheme will be funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The grant is available for homes built and occupied before 2011 and details of eligibility criteria and how to apply are set out here. A registered solar PV installer must be used and a full list of registered installers is also available on the SEAI website.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/

Government approves scheme to diversify green energy

DNaughten

A new scheme designed to diversify the State’s renewable energy production and boost its chances of meeting key EU targets has been approved by the Government. The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is designed to help the State meet its renewable pledges up to 2030. Its first priority is to boost renewable energy production quickly to help turn 16 per cent of the State’s energy needs “green” by 2020. The scheme will incentivise the introduction of sufficient renewable electricity generation by promoting investment by community groups in green projects. Offshore wind and tidal projects will be central if the State is to meet its targets, while it is expected to also support an immediate scale-up of solar projects. Projects looking for support under the scheme will need to meet pre-qualification criteria, including offering the community an opportunity to invest in and take ownership of a portion of renewable projects in their local area.

Auction system

The RESS scheme introduces a new auction system where types of energy will bid for State support. It is proposed that the scheme be funded through the Public Service Obligation Levy, which is a charge on consumers to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources. Individual projects will not be capped, but the Government will limit the amount that a single technology, such as wind or tidal, can win in a single auction. The auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme to allow the State to take advantage of falling technology costs. The first auction in 2019 will prioritise “shovel-ready projects”. “By not auctioning all the required capacity at once, we will not be locking in higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme,” Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten said. In effect it should make it easier for solar and offshore wind to get investment, yielding multiple billions for green projects over the next 15 years.

2020 vision

It is hoped renewable energy will represent 40 per cent of the State’s gross electricity consumption by 2020, and 55 per cent by 2030, subject to determining the cost-effective level that will be set out in the draft National Energy and Climate Plan, which must be approved by the EU and in place by the end of 2019. In addition the scheme is intended to deliver broader energy policy objectives, including enhancing security of supply. “This scheme will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to a more market-oriented mechanism [auctions] where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators,” said Mr Naughten. The next step for the Government is to secure EU approval for the package, which typically takes six to nine months. It is estimated that the first auction will be in the second half of next year.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/government-approves-scheme-to-diversify-green-energy-1.3575492

Karelia University of Applied Sciences implements pilot mentoring programme in North Karelia

Kuas Blog

Karelia University of Applied Sciences implemented a pilot mentoring programme for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. Mentoring took place between January 2018 and April 2018 for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. The mentoring provided the companies with suggestions for production process development, new business and product ideas and ways to develop their company as a whole.

As mentoring is a rather new method in Finnish business world, the GREBE project team was interested to see how things would proceed in its pilot mentoring sessions. The Irish partner’s processes were taken as an example for Karelia’s mentoring. The mentor proposed 2-5 optional solutions for the mentee’s, including for example improving the production process using LEAN principles, new (bio-based) raw material options, proceeding with product innovation, new business lines and new cooperation partnerships. The mentee’s chose 1-2 proposals to take further and discussed them with the mentor and/or other partners.

The mentoring process was well received and the mentees and mentor formed a good and open relationship. Although some of the proposed solutions seemed radical, many of them were already thought of in the company but not taken further, and the mentor assisted and sparred in the process. With a given tight time schedule and mentoring schedule, the companies found the mentoring useful and efficient. Due to limitation of time as the mentoring was performed in four months the outcomes of the mentoring are not realized yet. The mentoring finished in April 2018 and the companies are proceeding with the chosen solutions.

Here are some experiences from the mentor:

“I’m Juha Määttä, Spiralia Consulting Company and I have done three business mentoring cases in the Finnish part of the project. All business cases are part of GREBE project mentoring. Mentoring tasks included solving R&D process bottlenecks, screening of new business opportunities and analysing production process. Possibilities of new biomaterial have also been estimated. All companies have had interesting and challenging business cases. Mentoring has brought new solutions for the companies. All parties have increased their knowledge of renewable energy and enlarged our networks in business and research.”

A more detailed description of the mentoring process will be available in August 2018.

Increased generation from Scottish renewables

Windfarm near Ardrossan, Scotland

In June the UK Government released figures showing that renewable energy generation has seen a dramatic 11% increase in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Improved weather conditions for generation have seen wind generation in Scotland increase by 37%.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish energy minister, said: “These figures show that Scotland’s renewable energy sector is stronger than ever with almost exactly 1GW of new capacity installed since Q1 2017 and a strong pipeline of further projects still to be constructed.” Last year proved to be another record breaking year with provisional annual statistics showing that renewable electricity generation was up 27% on 2016 and 19% on 2015. The increase in generation now brings 69% of Scotland’s electricity consumption being delivered by renewable energy.

Scotland has long delivered on world leading electricity targets and is helped by an abundant onshore wind resource and historic hydro system. As the Scottish Government builds out new offshore wind and tidal projects the increase in generation only looks to continue. Recent plans for a new pumped storage hydro scheme on Scotland’s famous Loch Ness show a long term vision for the country’s electricity grid as it looks to increase penetration of renewables into its grid system. Climate change targets have been helped by the closure of Scotland’s last remaining coal powered fire station in recent years but ageing nuclear power stations and a “no new nuclear” policy look to add new challenges in the future.

Dingwall Wind Co-op operates a 250kW turbine on the property of Knockbain Farm near Dingwall

The Dingwall Wind Co-op was developed by David and Richard Lockett (the owners of the land) in partnership with Sharenergy, a co-operative helping to set up RE cooperatives. The turbine operates on the property of the Knockbain Farm near Dingwall. The Locketts’ acquired planning permission and grid connection, after they approached Sharenergy, which assured they can help them with the share offer to the rest of the community. The co-op structure, mitigated some of the risks associated with developing a wind project. Furthermore, Richard specified that he was fond of the idea of shared ownership.

The Wind Co-op owns and runs a 250kW wind turbine (WTN 250) just above Dingwall in Ross-shire. The turbine is the first 100% co-operatively owned wind development in Scotland. The Co-op was launched in September 2013 and the turbine was commissioned in June 2014. The Co-op has 179 members, 90% of whom are from the local area. The shares are between £250 and £20 000, with an average about £4000.

The co-op contributes to a community fund estimated at between £2000 and £8000/year. Members of the Co-op receive a return on their investment and EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme for Investors) tax relief. The landowners, who originated the project, receive a rental payment for use of their land.

Click to access Wind-Energy-Dingwall-Wind-Co-op-Scotland.pdf

 

Action Renewables document highlights areas for improvement in north’s renewable landscape

AR

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.”

Green Gas Collaborative Network

Hydrogen refueling on the hydrogen filling station on the motor show

Action Renewables is acting as a facilitator for a Collaborative Network trying to stimulate green gas in the transport sector. Partners in the collaborative network are Translink, Belfast City Council, B9 Solutions, Queens University Belfast, Agri AD, Granville Ecoparks, Hydrogen Green Power and Red Kite Management.  These partners have been working together since October 2017. The Network will carry out a scoping study to determine what opportunities exist in the development of a supply chain for the production and distribution of biogas, particularly in respect of the transport sector.

Key objectives are to look at:

  • Technical and cost requirements involved in producing green gas, biogas and green hydrogen
  • The size of the potential market for gaseous biofuels
  • The export potential for gaseous biofuels produced in Northern Ireland
  • Financial return/business models associated with the use of green gas in various sectors
  • How an innovative fuel supply chain in Northern Ireland could align itself in order to comply with the requirements of the new RTFO scheme
  • Benefits of delivering an alternative fuel supply network in terms of emission reduction; air quality; job creation; and potential inward investment
  • Identifying enabling technologies, skills and resources necessary to take advantage of these new opportunities
  • Identifying the relevant skills gaps and how best these can be mitigated against either from within the group or by seeking additional expertise from other sources
  • Recommendations that will best accelerate the longer-term growth of participating companies as a result of having taken part in the project
  • The appetite to create a formal biogas supply chain collaborative network whose members can collectively and individually grow their businesses and the sector

It was Invest Northern Ireland that launched the Collaborative Network Growth Programme in Northern Ireland in December 2016. Invest NI allocated £5.7million funding over five years to help stimulate innovation among local businesses. One hundred per cent funding up to £25,000 is available to industry-led networks requiring facilitation support to scope innovative collaborative projects.

At the launch it was said that “Innovation is absolutely essential to wider economic growth and the Collaborative Growth Programme will support SMEs to combine expertise, funding and contacts to develop new products and services and open up new business opportunities worldwide.

Action Renewables will publish The Green Gas Collaborative Network findings in a report due out in June 2018.

GREBE to hold its ninth and final partner meeting in Thurso, Scotland

 

ERI

The GREBE project partners will hold their ninth and final partner meeting in Thurso in Scotland next week.  We have a busy schedule planned and the Environmental Research Institute has been working to co-ordinate the programme to fit in as much as possible.

On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, we will have our project meeting in the Environmental Research Institutes buildings in Castle Street and in the Centre for Energy & the Environment (CfEE).  This is a £3 million purpose-built centre situated next to The North Highland College UHI. This building was funded as part of the MaREE project by the EU Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Funding Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The CfEE is home to staff working on Renewable Energy & the Environment, Climate Change and Ecology & Ecosystems. The CfEE has open plan office space, conference rooms and workshops, and there are laboratories available for teaching, making it the ideal venue for our partner meeting.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, we visit the Wick district heating scheme, located in Wick, Caithness, in the Highlands region of Scotland. It uses woodchip to generate heat by combustion, supplying steam to Pulteney Distillery and providing heating to around 200 homes and public buildings in the area.

On Thursday, we will host our final conference ‘Local Opportunities through Nordic Cooperation’. The north of Scotland shares many of the challenges and opportunities of its Nordic neighbours. It also has a long and established reputation and vast experience in working with organisations in Northern Europe. It is ideally placed to further collaborate and exchange information and practices to benefit local residents and communities.

Thurso

The conference will highlight the impact and opportunities of existing collaborative work. The free event will focus on existing projects which have worked to use and maintain local, natural resources in a sustainable way, to benefit local regions.

To register for our conference, please contact DESISLAVA.TODOROVA@UHI.AC.UK  or phone + 44 (0) 1847 889 597.

Technology and knowledge transfer cases

Knowledge Sharing - Page 4

Transnational sharing of knowledge is a key element of the GREBE project and special focus of working package 7 in order to facilitate transnational effective knowledge transfer and collaboration in the RE business sector and to promote knowledge sharing and information exchange between actors in renewable energy supply and demand.

Two case reports are currently available on the transfer of technology and knowledge in the NPA:

Nordkraft – Northern energy expertise

Nordkraft is an energy group focusing on development, production and distribution of renewable energy. In addition, the group has power sales and other energy-related businesses. The business focuses on planning, construction and operating hydro and wind energy plants.

The energy business model of Nordkraft includes business operations in energy infrastructure planning, development, construction, operation, maintenance and trade. The focus on establishing and operating the systems, and avoiding or sharing the capital investment risks, provides growth opportunities. The long-term emphasis on local expertise and business diversity provides permanent jobs in the sector supports the local socio-economic development.

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Technology-Transfer-Nordkraft-Northern-Energy-Expertise-February-2018.pdf

Knowledge sharing expert sessions with SME´s

The GREBE project arranged a possibility for the transfer of knowledge within the Northern Periphery area by hosting expert sessions with SME´s, associations and land owner representatives in the sector of renewable energy supply and demand. The sessions were part of the GREBE project meeting events hosted by the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council from 6th – 10th November 2017. Two experts, Saija Rasi and Veikko Möttönen from the GREBE partner organization Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings on Wednesday 8th November.

Knowledge on two main topics were shared between the experts from Finland and SME’s:

  1. Biogas production and utilization possibilities in rural areas
  2. Further processing of sawn wood and side streams

The experts were also available during a networking event for businesses from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland giving the opportunity to engage with one another or opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future.

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Knowledge-sharing-expert-sessions-with-SMEs-March-2018.pdf

Further technology transfer cases are currently under development supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Support the transnational transfer of knowledge and technology, the Renewable Business Portal provides a platform to demonstrate the full potential of the renewable energy (RE) sector and showcase innovations in RE technology.

Open Event – Local opportunities through Nordic cooperation – 24th May 2018 in Thurso, Scotland

Thurso

On behalf of the GREBE project we kindly invite you to attend the Local Opportunities through Nordic Cooperation Conference. The north of Scotland shares many of the challenges and opportunities of its Nordic neighbours. It also has a long and established reputation and vast experience in working with organisations in Northern Europe. It is ideally placed to further collaborate and exchange information and practices to benefit local residents and communities.

The conference will highlight the impact and opportunities of existing collaborative work. The free event will focus on existing projects which have worked to use and maintain local, natural resources in a sustainable way, to benefit local regions.

  • IMPACT: The conference will showcase how cooperation with Nordic regions has resulted in positive impacts and opportunities in the North of Scotland.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: This event will feature projects funded through the EU‘s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme, and will demonstrate how this funding has resulted in real world impacts within remote and rural areas.
  • NETWORKING: It will also allow networking with Scottish, Irish and Nordic organisations, to identify existing resources and future collaborative opportunities.

Projects featured will include: GREBE, LECO, FREED, SECURE, SHAPE, FOBIA, RECENT, Circular Ocean, REGINA, APP4SEA.

Date:                     May 24th 2018

Location:             North Highland College UHI, Thurso

Attendance:       Free of charge

TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT:

E: DESISLAVA.TODOROVA@UHI.AC.UK  P: 01847 889 597