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.
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.
Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have joined forces to advance the development of ocean energy technology by forming a new collaborative network.
Scottish Enterprise said separate agencies from each of the three countries, including itself, formed the Ocean Power Innovation Network, or OPIN, which is hosting its inaugural meeting in Dublin today.
“The network’s mission is to advance innovation by learning from experts in other industries, to push the boundaries of what’s possible in ocean energy and progress innovative ocean projects in a coordinated way,” Scottish Enterprise said.
Companies with ocean energy projects include OpenHyrdo, which plans to develop a commercial scale 100MW tidal energy array in waters off Northern Ireland’s coast.
The network also hopes to share knowledge with representatives from the oil and gas industry, who are among participants at today’s event.
“The coasts of Ireland and Scotland have an abundant supply of ocean energy,” Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland head of emerging sectors Declan Meally said.
“Pooling resources, knowledge and experience between us and collaborating outside the ocean energy sector means we can bring best practices together and drive development in ocean energy.”
OPIN’s next meetings will be hosted by Northern Ireland and Scotland later in the year, Scottish Enterprise said.