Fermanagh & Omagh District Council continues commitment to sustainable development

FODC logo

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are committed to positively contributing towards the achievement of sustainable development and as such have a Sustainable Development Policy in place which is also accompanied by an annual Sustainable Development Action Plan.

Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of people today and providing them with a good quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

It is characterised typically as achieving an optimum balance between social, environmental and economic considerations.  In achieving this balance, sustainable development aims to maximise the benefits of social, environmental and economic initiatives by mitigating negative and increasing positive impacts.

By working in accordance with our Sustainable Development Policy, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will:

  • Consider sustainability in all its actions and decisions
  • Progressively integrate sustainability principles into its daily activities
  • Seek to increase the awareness of sustainable development generally
  • Ensure that where possible, council activities support the achievement of sustainable development
  • Strive to act as an exemplar for sustainable development, ensuring policies and actions provide a lead to the local and wider community

To download a copy of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Sustainable Development Policy and Action Plan, or to find out more about sustainable development projects and initiatives which the Council are involved in, visit https://www.fermanaghomagh.com/your-council/sustainable-development/

For further information on sustainable development in general, visit http://www.sustainableni.org/

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.

The GREBE Project holds its 6th partner meeting in Norway

M Doran presenting

The GREBE project partners are holding their sixth partner meeting this week in Narvik, Norway.   The Western Development Commission and the Norwegian partners Narvik Science Park have been working together to prepare a programme to fit in as much as possible.

GREBE site visit

During the first part of our partner meeting we discussed our activities since our meeting in Finland in February and progress on rolling out our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme to the partner regions, and plans for the next six months.  Discussions are taking place on other work package activities including the development of our online funding options decision making tool, our Virtual Energy Ideas Hub and the development of a Renewable Energy Resource Assessment Toolkit.  Tomorrow (Thursday) we will visits to Statkraft, Nordkraft, Fortum Wind Park and meetings with some other SMEs in the Narvik area.   We will have details of our activities in future blog posts and our next e-zine.

CREST Centre in South West College, Enniskillen host Heat Recovery Seminar on Thursday 15th June

Crest image

CREST (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) at South West College, Enniskillen, in collaboration with Institute of Refrigeration Ireland (IRI) invites you to a FREE heat recovery seminar, and demonstration for industry on Thursday 15th June from 10.00am to 2.00pm in the CREST Pavilion.

There will be a light lunch and a tour and demonstration of the refrigeration workshop on site.

This event for food retailers and distributors, refrigeration and air conditioning engineers, food manufacturers and other interested parties will focus on ‘Road to Recovery’ (Heat Recovery Opportunities within Refrigeration and Air Conditioning)
Speakers on the day include:

Declan Fitzmaurice
Past President of the Institute of Refrigeration Ireland
“Innovative Commercial Solutions within the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump market

Paul Wharton – Technical Support Engineer, Danfoss
“Cooling Solutions and Heat Recovery Options for Cold Stores and Retailers”

Andrew Dunwoody – Technical Sales Engineer, Cross Refrigeration Group
“Gas Driven Heat Recovery in Air Conditioning Systems”

Jim Clarke – Technical Advisor, Efficiency and Resource Team, Invest NI

“Funding Support Options for Business.”

Raymond Howe – Course Co-Ordinator for Refrigeration / Air Conditioning at South West College
“Skills and Apprenticeship Programmes at SWC”

Heather Young – Industrial Development Associate, CREST
“Energy Efficiency Research & Development at CREST”

You can register for this event on Eventbrite, or for further information please contact Heather Young at heather.young@swc.ac.uk or telephone 028 8225 5223 Ext. 4229.

Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use

Finnish climate change panel

“Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use”

(Press release of the Finnish Climate Change Panel)

Decision-makers, the media and the public have felt that there are contradictory messages on the climate impacts of the forest use. A new report by the Finnish Climate Change Panel illustrates that key Finnish researchers specialising in forestry are quite unanimous on the central claims related to the sustainability of bioeconomy. Discourse between researchers, decision-makers and enterprises, and the related advanced analyses are still necessary for creating a sustainable bioeconomy.

The Finnish Climate Change Panel surveyed researchers’ insights on the climate change impacts of forest use. Responses were assessed and processed by 28 researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, the Finnish Environment Institute and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The process included a joint seminar, two enquiry rounds related to claims, and approval of the document.

The main claims approved by researchers:

  • It is possible to increase wood production with forest management, but it is not possible to significantly increase the net growth of stem wood in the next decades. A significant increase can only be expected in the 2050s and after.
  • Increasing logging and wood harvesting will decrease the carbon sink and carbon storage of Finnish forests for at least forthcoming decades compared to a situation where harvesting is not increased.
  • The greatest climate benefit of wood use can be achieved with long-lasting wood-based products that preserve the carbon content of the wood in use for a long time and replace products that have a high-emission life cycle impact.
  • In the long term, replacing fossil fuels with forest energy will create climate benefits if fossil fuels are permanently replaced, forest lands are maintained and the growth of forests remains unchanged or increases in the future.
  • The model calculations representing the future development of Finnish forests produced to aid political decision-making should be completed with information such as analyses describing the different projected paths of climate change.
  • The goals set for the different ways of using forests – such as wood production, carbon sequestration, conservation and recreational use – compete with each other, so it is unlikely that these goals will be reached simultaneously.
  • A significant increase in forest harvests may lead to a clear deterioration of the forest biodiversity unless the matter is taken into account sufficiently with the practices of forest management and the forest conservation network.

According to the Climate Change Panel, the result provides a good basis for national and international discussion on the role of Nordic forests in EU policy on climate and bioeconomy. The climate-smart use of forests is an important part of creating a low-carbon economy. So that the path will be consistent and sustainable, bioeconomy decisions must be based on scientific data.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/key-researchers-unanimous-climate-impacts-forests-use/

The link to the report “Main Messages from researchers concerning the climate impacts of forest utilization” can be found here: http://www.ilmastopaneeli.fi/uploads/selvitykset_lausunnot/Ilmastopaneeli_mets%C3%A4v%C3%A4itt%C3%A4m%C3%A4t_final_englanniksi_%202017.pdf

 

GREBE participates in Galway Chamber’s Energy Conference

Panel-Discussion-3

The GREBE Project participated in Galway Chamber’s energy conference in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday 12th May 2017.  As part of the panel on the International Perspective, Pauline Leonard (GREBE Project Co-ordinator) stressed the benefits of renewable energy for the social and economic development of peripheral regions and the benefits of working with international partners in terms of technology and knowledge transfer. Other participants on the international panel included Chris Stark (Scottish Government Director of Energy and Climate Change), Denise Massey (MD of Energy Innovation Centre UK), Alex White (Energy Policy Group Chair at the Institute of International & European Affairs and former Minster for Energy) and Jim Mulcair (Chairman of Roadbridge).

The conference was organised by Galway Chamber of Commerce and its president Conor O’Dowd expects to see 30% more people living in Galway by 2050. Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne TD, outlined the Government’s position on the energy sector and stressed how important this sector is to the region.  The leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan highlighted the need for a zero carbon society by 2050

The conference was sponsored by Coillte and SSE, and James O’Hara of SSE stated that the development of Galway Wind Park will herald a huge increase in renewable electricity generation in the West of Ireland.  It will involve 69 turbines, powering up to 84,000 homes and effectively replacing 190,000 tonnes of carbon generated electricity each year.  The wind park near Moycullen will become Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm to date and will assist Galway in achieving the status of a net exporter of renewable energy.

Brian Sheridan of the Galway Harbour Company and John Breslin of SmartBay outlined the potential for marine energy in the region, with discussions about offshore wind and the generation of wave and tidal power.

NPA funded GREBE and TARGET Projects meet at the Technology Festival of Northern Norway (TINN)

Target & GREBE
Norwegian project leaders, both from Narvik: Dr. Wei Deng Solvang (TARGET) and Fred R. Johansen (GREBE)

TARGET is a NPA-project designed to enhance the capacity of manufacturing companies to innovate and embrace new technologies – making regional manufacturing globally competitive. Partners of the TARGET Project were recently in Narvik to discuss how to deliver state-of-the-art technological supports to local businesses in the NPA-regions. This time, in collaboration with the GREBE project partner – Narvik Science Park at the  Technology Festival of Northern Norway (TINN). Partners concluded that renewable energy (GREBE) and digitalization (TARGET) represent two key factors in the global market competition.

Bulding regional competencies

Manufacturing in the NPA region has many important strengths. These include regional and niche specific competencies that are world leading in specific sectors unique to the region. However, the majority of manufacturing companies are predominately small in size and face considerable challenges like geographical isolation from major markets and a lack of the benefits offered by more populous and urbanised economic urban clusters. When combined with global trends that see a shift in manufacturing to lower cost and developing economics with rapid advances in new technologies, this means that support measures are needed to strengthen the manufacturing sector.

TARGETs Partners are:

  • South West College, Northern Ireland (Lead Partner)
  • UiT – The Arctic University, Campus Narvik – Norway
  • Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre, Ireland
  • Local Enterprise Offices Cavan and Sligo, Ireland

Target project

A collaborated competence platform

The focus area in the TARGET- project is to provide a toolbox to facilitate manufacturing companies´ application of innovation and embracing new processes and practices such as virtual and parametric design and simulation, reverse planning, modelling and 3D printing, remote monitoring and programming of NC machines and robots, 3D measurements, application of digital data and vision based quality assurance. Coupling these with key market analysis skills such as trending, testing and integrating products into a whole cycle of service delivery will build the competitive advantage and value of manufacturing firms. The key is to converge all of these technologies to produce an integrated, automated and highly efficient manufacturing environment – putting the knowledge economy into manufacturing.

Target project - image1

Global competitiveness

The TARGET project will develop supports to build future global competitiveness of NPA region manufacturers giving them a new influx of innovation, technology and novel processes. This will open up new and promising opportunities and reduce the competitive and knowledge gap through the introduction of new processes, techniques, knowledge and skill and will demonstrate the benefits to be gained through the application of these supports to position NPA manufacturing industries as world leaders in their sectors and building sustainable competitive advantage.