Eastern Finland Bioenergy Days: excursion to Eno Energy Cooperative

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Procurement agent Matti Ikäheimonen presenting wood fuel supply of Eno Energy Cooperative

The Regional Council of North Karelia and Karelia University of Applied Sciences organised Eastern Finland Bioenergy Days in 26th-27th of September.  Seminar covered policy and business developments of the sector, and excursions headed to the renewable energy demonstration at Sirkkala Energy Park (Karelia UAS), Eno Energy Cooperative and John Deere Forest machine manufacturing.

The seminar programme included presentations and discussions on the sector development, especially on latest policy development in climate and energy, ie. legislative proposal to integrate greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework. The potential impacts of the prepared legislation to the Finnish forestry, bioenergy sector and their carbon emissions were discussed in several presentations. The Finnish discussion and controveries experienced are deatailed in a blogpost by the University of Eastern Finland.

The excursion to the Eno Energy Cooperative included company history, forest supply chain practices, socio-economic impacts, and the latest investment on 21 kWe Solar PV. The Solar PV system was installed by a local company, Mirotex ltd., and it was part of the joint procurement process together with 4 other energy enterprises in the region.

The Eno Energy Cooperative shares actively good practices through the networks of heat entrepreneurs both regionally and nationally, and is also know reference site for international visitors. The EEO is one of the three EES (Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme) roll-out companies in Finland and will receive targeted mentoring support during the third year of the project.

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Solar energy technology demonstration starts in North Karelia

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Choosing the most suitable PV or solar thermal system for you is not always easy.

Karelia UAS has invested in number of different solar PV and thermal technologies. Sirkkala Energy Park will house five different PV panel and inverter combinations, four solar thermal collector types and one PV-T hybrid panel system.

Various different PV technologies are commercially available and the most common and the most promising ones were acquired to Sirkkala Energy Park. Silicon polycrystalline and monocrystalline cells dominate the markets with nearly 90 % market share. Monocrystalline based PV-systems have lower production and investment costs compared to polycrystalline cells, but what they gain in investment costs will be lost in efficiency in most cases. Thin cell PV technologies will be demonstrated in the form of CIGS (Copper Inidium Gallium Selenide) and amorphous silicon. There are also various emerging technologies being researched, but most of them are not yet commercially available.

Various types of PV system architectures and technologies will be demonstrated, including single panel power optimisers, panels in series with maximum power point tracking (MPPT), panels with microinverters and mobile thin cell technologies. Total gross area of installed PV will be 80 m² and total peak power over 11 kW.

Solar thermal collectors are used to produce heat by absorbing sunlight. Two types of main technologies exists; evacuated tube collectors and flat panel collectors. Total of three types of flat panel collectors with different absorber material (copper, aluminium and stainless steel) and one type of evacuated tube collector will be demonstrated. Gross area of solar thermal collectors will be 32 m².

Hybrid PV/Thermal –panels are also demonstrated to assess the feasibility of this technology. Size of the hybrid panel array will be 8 m² with peak power of 1,1 kWp.

According to Project coordinator Mr. Markus Hirvonen, after installation of solar systems the Sirkkala Energy Park will be able to provide unique information on solar energy technologies and the characteristics of each different setup.

“The different solar energy setups provide new information on solar technologies in North Karelian environment and makes it easier for consumers and companies to make good solar PV and thermal investment decisions.

Within the GREBE –project context, Sirkkala Energy Park provides new insights into the market access paths of modern RE solutions, and their business opportunities and challenges.

Sirkkala Energy Park, located in Sirkkala campus of Karelia UAS in Joensuu, is a research, development and education facility of RE technologies. The energy system established in 2015 includes different solar and wood based i.e. a modern small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) -plant fueled with locally produced woodchips.

MADIE Project training in Finland

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MADIE project organized a joint training event teaching how to become successful consultants for cooperative structures and how to establish new cooperative businesses and cooperation based on lessons learned from selected cases in Europe

The training course was held in Joensuu (Finland), hosted by GREBE partner Luke during mid-June. The aim of the training course was to teach motivated consultants, students, entrepreneurs, cooperative representatives, SME´s and other interested stakeholders how to become successful consultants for cooperative structures. In addition, participants learned new cooperative businesses and cooperation based on lessons learned from selected cases. Various aspects of cooperatives, soft skills and business knowledge were covered during the training such as social skills, management skills, business models, communication skills, Finnish case examples and other essential skills.

In addition, excursions to a well-functioning energy cooperative and a small-scale CHP unit were part of the programme. The first excursion point was the Eno energy cooperative where the participants learned from the experiences of a successful cooperative model in the field of forest energy. The second visit was at the Sirkkala Energy Park where GREBE partner Karelia UAS presented the technology and opportunities of small-scale CHP units based on wood chips. Presentations and lectures given by cooperative and university representatives highlighted the importance of cooperative business models and cooperatives in Finland.

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MADIE – Multifunctional Agriculture as a Driver for Innovation in rural Europe

MADIE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by the German  Starkmacher e.V. with partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke, Finland), County Governor of Hordaland (Norway), NAK Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary) and Terre di loppiano srl (Italy).

Different models of cooperation, such as cooperatives or associations of local players, have been established in recent years in different regions of the partner countries. They created jobs in agriculture or forestry often in conjunction with new marketing, tourism, nature conservation and nature education projects.

The knowledge on cooperative business models gained during the training week can be applied within the GREBE project and GREBE partner Luke will take relevant models into account within the working package 7 implementation on “Knowledge transfer and business delivery”.