The Western Development Commission launched their Local Energy Communities (LECo) project in IT Sligo on Friday April 6th. The launch was combined with a community energy awareness day. LECo is funded by the NPA programme with partners in Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Norway. The goal is to combine new innovative technologies with locally available natural resources, and to raise awareness of energy efficiency and identify possibilities to use renewable energy.
The event was organised and Chaired by Dr Orla Nic Suibhne from the Western Development Commission, and the speakers included:
- Paul Kenny CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency
- Ruth Buggie Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) Programme Manger with SEAI
- Pauline Leonard GREBE Project Coordinator Western Development Commission
- Mel Gavin R&D Coordinator IT Sligo
- Aisling Nic Aoidh LECo Project Officer Údarás na Gaeltachta
- Martin Keating Mayo County Council’s Climate Change Regional Office
At the event, Ruth Buggie from SEAI announced details of a new grant programme specifically designed for communities within the SEC network. This new programme will go live mid April 2018 and aims to develop community skills to a level where they can manage their own capital projects, lead small to medium scale project in their own communities, build and maintain energy awareness and knowledge locally, and also provide funding for small scale demonstration projects to showcase innovative energy solutions. There is €3m available for this new funding programme for communities in 2018.
Further details are available at: www.facebook.com/LECoproject
The Western Development Commission is undertaking a survey of current and potential biomass use in the Western Region. The WDC along with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, were tasked to ‘complete a regional renewable energy analysis on the use of biomass as a local contribution to the national renewable heat target and develop a range of actions to support the development of renewable energy in the region’ under the Action Plan for Jobs.
This will inform how we support and develop biomass use in this region. We are keen to understand more about how you operate your heating systems, any plans you have for further biomass investment or use and your general views on biomass.
All information provided will be treated in strict confidence and we hope you will click here to participate in our on-line questionnaire <www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WDCBiomassSurvey>
Your support in this survey will be greatly appreciated and will help us develop the biomass sector in the Western Region, supporting jobs and growing our low carbon economy.
Further information on this survey and the reasons for undertaking it can be found WDC biomass survey background
A strong attendance list of 190 were present at the annual IrBEA Bioenergy Conference in Dublin on Thursday 9th February.
The programme featured four sessions, the first session focused on policy where Fergus Leamy, CEO of Coillte, the leading forestry, land owning, renewable energy and panel products business in Ireland, provided high-level insights on how we in Ireland can optimize our bioenergy potential. Matthew Clancy, Programme Manager for Low-Carbon Technologies at the SEAI talked about the detailed outlook and challenges for bioenergy in Ireland.
The timing of this conference was particularly appropriate in light of the final consultation on the Government’s proposed introduction of a renewable heat incentive (RHI). This very welcome development can be the key to unlocking the potential of bioenergy in Ireland. Getting to our renewable energy and climate change targets, generating energy from indigenous resources, reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and promoting jobs and economic activity across the entire country, are just some of the benefits.
Reflecting the importance of this challenge we had a session on the RHI consultation delivered by Tom Bruton in the mid-morning sessions. Key speakers and advisors were present at the conference, and the attendees were given the opportunity to partake in a Q&A session to drum up ideas for a response to the consultation. IrBEA will submit a consultation response in mid-March.
After lunch, Session 3 concentrated on Project Finance. Garrett Monaghan of Arthur Cox covered the area of executing and financing biomass projects. He confirmed that capital is available for biomass projects but stressed the importance of planning, having experts on hand, and using funders as allies to help you get the job done. Garrett also looked at RHI implementation and addressed some of the current issues. Russell Smyth (KPMG) walked us through many projects scenarios which are up and running in the AD and W-E sector; commenting that there was a robust equity investment appetite for the sector.
Franceso Panzeri of Demetra gave the history of engineering and designing the ADBag. The solution is a modular system based on a prefabricated plastic bag, which is easy to be installed and maintained. Frank Donnelly of Northway Mushrooms detailed hands-on experiences of his farming business and how his dependence on different renewable energy supplies including biomass boilers and large solar panel investment has helped keep his business viable in changing economic times.
Further information about the Irish Bioenergy Association can be found on their website: http://www.irbea.org/
Aurivo Co-operative in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon has been shortlisted as Leadership Finalists 2016 in the SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards 2016.
Aurivo is striving to reduce its impact on the environment through energy efficiency and energy from biomass, with recent initiatives offsetting over 8,000 tonnes of CO2 in the first four months of 2016. In 2015, Aurivo installed a 15MW biomass boiler which replaced a heavy fuel oil boiler to dry liquid milk. The plant is the first of its kind in the west and Aurivo became the first large scale milk processor in the country to switch to biomass as a source of energy. Previously the owners used 1 tanker of heavy fuel oil, before installing a biomass boiler which uses c.30,000 tonnes of wood chip per annum.
Auviro is one of four organisations who have successfully progressed as finalists in the Leadership category. These companies have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and ambition in advancing sustainable energy in their organisation or community over a prolonged period.
You can vote for Aurivo here