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.”
Preparations are underway for our next Big Conference! Action Renewables is hosting a GREBE Conference on 21st June 2018 in Belfast. The marketing team here at Action Renewables are working hard to come up with a new concept of delivery that will keep the audience engaged and provide an enjoyable day of events. Here is a short preview of what is to come:
The Conference aims to showcase policy in 7 EU Renewable Energy Projects in Northern Ireland with a particular focus on the GREBE EU Project.
Guest speakers will demonstrate the most recent developments in Renewable Energy Technologies.
An outline on how the GREBE project has identified elements of good policy which could be applied to Northern Ireland.
Pauline Leonard, Western Development Commission Lead Partner, will disseminate the overall results and impact of the GREBE EU Programme across the region.
Roisin Deery, Action Renewables will present GREBE Policy findings across the regions.
Una Porteous, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council will provide an overview on the success of the SME mentoring scheme throughout all the partners regions in ROI, NI, Scotland, Finland and Iceland.
The second part of the Conference will showcase other EU Renewable Energy Projects currently running in Northern Ireland: RECENT, SEAFUEL, REDAWN, SPIRE2, GENCOMM and Renewable Engine.
The Government should set an ambitious target for Ireland of producing 70 per cent renewable electricity by 2030, which would help transform the energy sector and benefit consumers, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA). The call by the IWEA, which represents the wind industry – including the majority of windfarm operators in Ireland – is based on the findings of a study it commissioned which shows such a target was technically possible and, if achieved, would be cost neutral for consumers.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment should set this 70 per cent challenge for the renewable energy industry, said newly-appointed IWEA chief executive Dr David Connolly. Ireland had the required expertise built up over the past two decades “across academia, system operators, regulators, and the entire renewable industry to meet the target”, he told the IWEA spring conference in Dublin. Following a study by Baringa, UK consultants in energy and utilities, IWEA has published its “Energy Vision” for 2030. It highlights the risk of “a return to reliance on fossil fuels towards 2030 after the 40 per cent renewables target [for electricity] set for 2020 is met”.
The study concludes Ireland can continue to be a world leader in renewable electricity, particularly wind, but:
Wind power, “the least costly technology”, will need to more than double between 2020 and 2030.
2,500 megawatts (MW) of solar power capacity will be needed by 2030.
Construction of storage capacity in the form of 1,700 MW of new batteries by 2030 will be required.
Power plants need to become more flexible to adjust to fluctuations in wind and solar power, though an additional 1,450 MW will be delivered from interconnectors with Britain and France.
The group’s modelling confirms the possibility of not only providing clean power for the electricity sector, but renewable energy for heat and transport. It says “426,000 electric cars could be used instead of petrol/diesel, while 279,000 heat pumps could replace existing oil boilers in Irish homes by 2030”. Dr Connolly said a bright green future for Ireland was possible “if we have the ambition and the backing to grasp it . . . not only could our 2030 landscape be driven by clean, home grown renewables, but it will not cost more than using fossil fuels”. Up until now the EU target of 40 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 was the key driver for the Irish wind energy sector. The EU is currently evaluating what this target should be for 2030, which is expected to be finalised next year though the Government has yet to commit to a new target.
The GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) contributes towards dissemination of GREBE outputs and learnings among their wider networks, including at local, regional and national policy level where possible. The third annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Thursday 22th of February 2018. Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments, outcomes over the last year and presented GREBE deliverables (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its business mentoring in Finland through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).
The third IAG meeting was the last meeting of the GREBE IAG with representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union. The IAG discussed on how to disseminate the final deliverables, cooperate with future activities and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented in practice, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy.
Following the GREBE IAG meeting, the regional Poveria Biomassasta project hosted a local workshop with over 20 participants at the same premises on energy business including IAG representatives, entrepreneur enabler scheme participants and other stakeholders from the field. The workshop focused on bioenergy business models and experiences of entrepreneurs in the business area with a main topic on heat entrepreneurship and biogas delivery. The event was targeted for farmers and possible heat entrepreneurs as well as other interested stakeholders.
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.
Ireland is not close to achieving its energy and emissions targets. We are currently one of four countries in Europe expected to miss the 2020 targets set out by the European Directive. The other countries set to fall short are Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Ireland is approximately 7% short of the 16% target. These legally binding targets from the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, were set with the goal of reducing the greenhouse effect, securing energy supply, maximising renewables and saving money.
According to the SEAI, the cost to Ireland will be between €100-€150 million for each percentage point the country is short of the target. The SEAI report on Ireland’s Energy Targets: Progress, Ambition and Impacts depict the current progress towards achieving the targets, shown in the graph below, Figure 1.
The full article can be downloaded from the Action Renewables website here
The month of May showed that renewables can still play their part in providing large amounts of electricity even in summer months. Wind turbines alone provided enough electricity to supply 95% of Scottish homes thanks to windy weather. The 863,495MWh of electricity provided to the grid was an incredible increase of 20% compared to May 2016.
Solar energy was also increasingly able to supply 100% of electricity needs to houses fitted with panels across a number of areas in Scotland. Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Lewick houses fitted with photovoltaic panels benefited from 100% of their average use generated from the sun. Solar hot water panels also provided 90% of household’s average hot water needs in the same Scottish areas.
Across the United Kingdom there was also records broken on the 26th May with the National Grid reported a peak of 8.5GWh over a half hour period at midday. This was almost a quarter of total UK demand.
Scotland continues to increase its renewable energy capacity with an average annual increase of over 660MW since the end of 2008. Total installed renewables capacity sat at 8642GW at the end of 2016 of which the breakdown can be found below. This ever-increasing renewables capacity allows Scotland to reach renewable energy targets and climate change targets whilst still exporting low carbon electricity to its neighbours.