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.
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.
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.
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.
IceWind designs and manufactures small vertical axis wind turbines for telecom towers and residential applications such as homes, cabins and farms.
The IceWind vertical axis wind technology has been designed in response to the growing demand for renewable technologies. It demonstrates that turbines can be an elegant, quiet, durable, cost effective and nearly maintenance free solution for energy production.
The company was founded in 2012 but development goes back to 2008, when Anemometer was designed as a final project in University of Iceland, where it all started.
Forestry felling licenses are taking up to a year to process farmers are being warned by the IFA. National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said that the latest IFA Timber Price report shows that palletwood prices have increased by up to 15pc since February, while average sawlog prices are in excess of €85/tonne. Pat Collins said, “With demand for timber predicted to remain high at a domestic and global level, it is a good time to consider forestry. There are several options available under the Afforestation and Woodland Creation scheme to suit the soil, size, location and management objectives”.
He said that the size of a viable forest from a timber perspective is very location specific, for example a small forest that is near a road and easy to work can generate comparable timber incomes per hectare as a larger forests, particularly if managed as part of a harvesting cluster. “For those who have already planted, but who have not managed the forest or have timber in hard-to-access locations – now is the time to have your asset valued and look at realising a good price”. A farmer is legally required to apply to the Forest Service for a felling license before they can fell a tree in his plantation. If you are planning to apply for a felling licence, approvals can take up to 12 months to issue.
“Farmers are very concerned with the delays in getting felling licence approval”, said Mr. Collins. “The introduction of a single 10 year felling licence and the new public consultation process, although welcomed, is causing further delays”. He said that the Department must work to reduce the turnaround time for felling licence approvals so farmers can avail of the strong timber prices.
EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd. is an energy efficiency company based in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon in the West of Ireland. EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd. provides external insulation services nationwide to all parts of Ireland. The owners of EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd. are both from an engineering and architectural background and initially formed a partnership in 2009, after working together since 2007 on construction projects using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF).
As a result of the economic downturn and subsequent changes in the construction industry in Ireland, the partners decided to continue working together and focus on renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency in construction. In 2011, they formed a partnership with a UK construction company and formed a new company Cara EcoSmart Ltd. where they were worked on projects in the UK funded by the Green Deal Scheme. Cara EcoSmart Ltd. required a robust quality assurance system, and adopted and modified one which was used by other partners in the company. This knowledge transfer proved very valuable when tendering for contracts in Ireland.
In 2013, they formed EcoSmart External Insulation Ltd., and the construction sector slowly started recovering in early 2014 with people investing more on home improvements. The SEAI reintroduced and increased grant funding to approximately €4,500. This depended on the scale of energy efficiency measures undertaken. The availability of this grant made a very big difference in the mentality of people and they were prepared to undertake energy efficiency upgrades.
Save the date for Ireland’s largest energy specific event for the agricultural community, Energy in Agriculture 2018!
In 2017 it had over 60 exhibitors and attracted over 2500 attendees, proving to be a highly successful, informative and productive day for all.
The 2018 event will take place again at Gurteen College, Co. Tipperary on Tuesday 21st August 2018. It will be bigger and better this year, informing visitors of the greater energy opportunities in agriculture – Support Scheme for Renewable Heat, Microgeneration Grant Scheme and the further development of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.
An exciting new addition to the line-up for the day is the Innovation Showcase – taking place in the main EXPO Arena at 3:30pm.
The Energy in Agriculture team is currently looking for entries for the Innovation Showcase. If you have an innovative product that aims to increase efficiency and sustainability on farms, then you should apply to be included in theINNOVATION SHOWCASE! Innovation Showcase – Call for entries
Not only will you get the chance to showcase your product/service to a niche target audience, all successful applicants will also be in with the chance of receiving the overall ‘Energy in Agriculture Innovation Award’ for the best innovation that improves efficiencies on Irish farms or contributes to the de-carbonisation of agriculture. There are also an additional two categories of sponsored awards with significant prizes attached (see below).
Please register HERE to attend the event or apply for the showcase!
The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Full details are available on the GREBE website:
The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:
Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.
The first wind turbines for electricity generation were developed at the beginning of the 20th century. Thus, wind technology is one of the most mature and proven technologies on the market. In 2015, the wind energy industry installed 12.8 GW in the EU – more than gas and coal combined. Onshore wind is presently one of the most economically viable RE generation technologies. In areas with good wind resources, generating electricity with wind turbines is already competitive. Thus, wind turbines offer the prospects of cost efficient generation of electricity and fast return on investment. The economic feasibility of wind turbines depends primarily on the wind speed. Usually, the greater the long term annual average wind speed, the more electricity will be generated and the faster the investment will pay back. The map below gives an overall picture of the wind potential across the globe, showing that the NPA region has a great potential to harness the benefits associated with wind energy generation.
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.
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.
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.