GREBE Policy Workshops in 2017

Finland Policy workshop
Michael Doran of Action Renewables

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.

Northern Ireland

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.

Scotland

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.

Finland

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.

Funding of €180,000 available to support Energy Innovations

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The FREED project is inviting applications from companies to develop innovative energy technologies.  Aimed at businesses that are currently active in the Energy Technology sector, FREED are offering financial support to develop and take innovative energy technologies to commercialization.  A maximum sum of €30,000 per innovation may be made available to successful applicants as well as in-kind support offering incubation capabilities, market access and unique access to private investment. Each innovative technology selected will be promoted through the project across the partner region in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) area.

Information on each country specific tender call can be found on the FREED website below:  

Candidates are to submit technology innovation proposals, which address identified challenges in the following areas:

  • Intelligent grid (IoT): including but not restricted to smart illumination; 5G solutions; electrical and heat distribution networks; intelligent energy systems; remotely controllable loads; distributed grid management; power electronics; “virtual” power stations; demand side & control system management; upgraded power grid; solutions for zero-emission zones in smart cities; data analysis, integrated computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), decentralised and off-grid solutions
  • Energy storage: including but not restricted to advanced battery technology; energy for transport sector; thermal energy storage, hydrogen energy storage; hybrid energy storage systems, domestic and commercial scale heat recovery systems; small scale solar PV with integrated battery storage, decentralised and off-grid solutions
  • Smart and efficient buildings and environment: including but not restricted to ultra-energy efficient building management solutions and services; BMS and metering technologies; ICT solutions to encourage monitoring; smart HVAC linked to renewable energy; smart temp and humidity control for built heritage sites; energy cost reduction technology for water treatment
  • Renewable energies: including but not restricted to solar PV, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy and related supply chains inc. biomass CHP; marine and hydro renewable energy; 2nd generation biofuels; technology to increase usage of on-site renewables; advanced heat pumps, solar thermal, decentralised and off-grid solutions

A condition of being awarded the contract is that technology development and the commercial development of the output must take place in the NPA region, as defined by the European Union Interreg Programme.

FREED (Funding Resources for Innovation in Energy Enterprise Development) a three year project funded under Interregs Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA). FREED will support existing and start-up SME’s to utilise and develop innovative energy technologies as viable business offerings. The project, which is led by the University of Oulu in Finland, is a collaborative partnership involving private investment firms, R&D institutions, colleges of education and public bodies from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Norway, The United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland. For further information about FREED please visit the project website http://www.freedproject.eu/

‘Innovate Energy 2016’ event in Enniskillen – 8th December 2016

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Supporting the Development of Innovative Energy Technologies

“If you are developing an innovation in energy technology, or are interested in seeing what innovations in energy technology are being developed, come to the SWC Seminar to find out how the FREED project can help you.”

FREED will support existing and start-up SMEs to utilise and develop innovative energy technologies as viable business offerings. If you are an SME make sure you sign up for the opportunity to pitch your idea.

This event will take place at the CREST Pavilion, Technology & Skills Centre, South West College, Enniskillen, BT74 4EJ, Northern Ireland

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Register at eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/ or contact Michelle McDonald on 028 8225 5223

 

BioTECH 2016 – Opportunities in Biomass – CREST Centre, Enniskillen – 21st October 2016

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CREST (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) at South West College, is hosting a free biomass seminar, tour and demonstration on Friday 21st October 2016.  CREST is an associate partner in the GREBE project and this event is being run in partnership with Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) and it will run from 10.00 a.m. to 2.30 pm in the CREST pavilion.

Aimed at growers, biofuel suppliers, landowners biomass end users and anyone interested in the sector, the event will focus on ‘Opportunities in Biomass’ and will give an overview of the economic outlook, energy crops, fuel quality, funding for innovation and the future prospects for the industry.  The event will also include a tour and demonstration of CREST’s R&D biomass processing facilities and testing laboratories, which are state-of-the-art.

These facilities support research and development activities on behalf on the SME businesses across Northern Ireland  and has wider collaborative linkages across Europe.

Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) is a self-funded organisation whose members are actively engaged in all aspects of the production, marketing and use of biomass energy in Northern Ireland with a strong emphasis on Biomass Renewable Heat.  John Martin, Chairman of BENI commented “There is still a target of 10% of Heat from renewable sources by 2020, despite the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.  A clear strategy needs to be put in place by the Department for the Economy(DfE) as a matter of urgency, to ensure this target is met”.

Other speakers at the event include:

  • Michael Doran: (Action Renewables, GREBE Partner) and President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)
  • Barry Caslin: Bioenergy & Rural Development Specialist in Teagasc
  • Jim Clarke: Deputy Principal Sustainable Development in Invest NI
  • Stewart Cameron: Glendale Tree Services and BENI Member
  • Paul Cairns: CREST Biomass R&D Technician

To register for Biotech 2016 or for further information, contact Gary Logue at gary.logue@swc.ac.uk or telephone 028 (048 from ROI) 66342251 by Monday 17th October 2016.

Higher Level Apprenticeships at the CREST centre in Northern Ireland

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GREBEs Northern Ireland partner, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are privileged to have within the region, South West Colleges flagship Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST).  An associate partner of the GREBE project, the CREST centre has been established to help small businesses in NI, the border counties of ROI and Western Scotland to develop and adopt renewable energy and sustainable technologies. South West College lead a network of educational institutions including Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre, Sligo IT and Dumfries and Galloway College in Scotland.

South West College have introduced Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLA) which are fast becoming an attractive alternative to attendance at university for a traditional 3 or 4 year programme, as the employee can gain a third level qualification – a Foundation Degree and develop industry related skills that benefit both their employer and their career.

One of the most exciting HLAs which the college is offering through CREST is the Foundation Degree in Renewable and Sustainable Technologies.  Offered in conjunction with Queens University and Ulster University, there is a range of areas of specialisms including Building Services and Renewable Energy, Energy Environment and Sustainability and Engineering (Wind Turbine Technology).

Noreen McGirr HLA Coordinator with the College says that “These courses are highly sought after and the College are offering 10-15 apprentices (per specialism) the opportunity to embark on their careers through this new route, embracing the opportunity to earn and learn in a real business setting.  Due to the increase in fees that is likely to be faced by full time third level students and the increased level of debt this will create, it is encouraging that there are alternatives available which offer real possibilities to our brightest young people to remain at home whilst still progressing their careers and learning.

HLAs are also a wonderful opportunity for employers to ‘recruit smart’ by addressing the urgent gap in high-level skills shortages increasingly evident across the region”.

For further information on the HLA opportunities available please follow the link below

http://www.swc.ac.uk/engage/business-engagement/Higher-Level-Apprenticeships.aspx

CREST: Supporting businesses in renewable energy & sustainable technologies

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The Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST) is an exciting adventure that has been set up to help small businesses in Northern Ireland, the Irish border counties and Western Scotland to develop and adopt renewable energy and sustainable technologies.

CREST provides industry R&D, demonstration and testing facilities for new renewable energy products and sustainable technologies. The facilities are available for use by small companies within the region who have ideas for new products but who currently do not have the physical and/or technical capacity to develop, test and commercialise them.

Within CREST facilities staff are accessible to develop, demonstrate and test new technologies and show how these can be integrated practically and sensibly to achieve energy savings. Services offered by CREST include:

  • R&D in renewable energy systems and sustainable technologies
  • Development and testing of sustainable construction methods and materials
  • Innovative product and component design
  • Development of demonstration prototypes and models
  • Testing of renewable energy systems and products
  • Demonstration and testing of retrofit technologies
  • Data analysis and performance monitoring
  • Advice and consultancy on renewable energy and sustainable technologies

CREST operates across a network of educational institutions including Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre, Institute of Technology Sligo, and Dumfries and Galloway College in Scotland. The flagship facilities for CREST are located at South West College’s Technology and Skills Centre in Enniskillen and comprises of three areas; the CREST Passive Pavillion, the R&D Laboratory and CREST Hub.

It’s hoped that CREST will be a useful resource for businesses participating on the GREBE mentoring programme.  For further information please visit: http://www.swc.ac.uk/innovate/crest/home.aspx