Karelia University of Applied Sciences implements pilot mentoring programme in North Karelia

Kuas Blog

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.

Ireland plans to ban sale of new cars with tailpipes by 2030

Tailpipe

The Irish Government has pledged to ban the sale of new cars with tailpipes by the year 2030, as part of its commitment to environment issues. Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten said that he told his European counterparts at a European Council meeting this week that Ireland “had set itself an objective” to ban the sale of all new cars with a tailpipe by 2030.

But he said that in order to do that, the European automotive industry needed to ramp up its efforts to reduce emissions and produce zero emissions cars. “They really need to drive ambition in this area so that we can reduce overall carbon emissions within the transport sector that make up one quarter of all carbon emissions within the EU.” There are widespread plans to ensure there are zero-emission vehicles on roads. Alternative fuel options are being looked at to introduce green-energy fleets for Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and school buses. Ireland could be forced to pay up to €75 million each year if it doesn’t meet its EU renewable-energy targets by 2020 – with many experts and politicians saying it won’t meet those targets.

Cigarette butts

Naughten also discussed how to tackle cigarette butt litter with his European counterparts. Every single cigarette butt has 12,000 micro strands of plastic in it. As a result on a global level, we have 1,900 million strands of plastic going into our water streams every single second. And it’s not just a problem of microplastics getting into our waters, also the cigarette filters themselves are there to block tar and other chemicals going into the smoker’s lungs. “But they end up in our water courses, in our rivers having an impact on aquatic life, and in our fish stocks.” The 2017 National Litter Pollution Report showed that half of all street litter is made up of cigarette butts. It’s understood that on-the-spot litter fines are going to be increased from €150 to €250 in an attempt to tackle the problem.

http://www.thejournal.ie/tailpipe-cars-ban-ireland-4095250-Jun2018/?utm_source=shortlink

Action Renewables document highlights areas for improvement in north’s renewable landscape

AR

A leading company that provides renewable energy advice has released its latest policy document which outlines areas for improvement for the north’s renewable landscape. ‘Proposal for a renewable future’ produced by Action Renewables, focuses on issues such as energy efficiency, green gas, renewable transport, security of supply, renewable heat and job security. Each focus comes with recommendation’s which are aimed at encouraging debate within the sector and driving forward the development of new policies and goals.

The document emphasizes the growing threat to the renewables industry in the north highlighting the potential loss of more than 3,000 jobs in the sector due to a ‘lack of clear policy and withdrawal of incentives’. According to the report one-third of total energy consumption in the north occurs through the transport sector with 94 per cent of this associated with petrol and diesel in road vehicles. The document also draws upon the possibility of imported fossil fuel prices rising post-Brexit and suggests generating renewable energy from local sources.

Action Renewables announced the launch of its most recent policy document at the European Energy Policy Forum which had over 100 delegates in attendance. Topics covered at the event included renewable energy opportunities for SME’s, hydropower energy recovery technology, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Michael Doran, managing director at Action Renewables said: “The large turnout for our first European Energy Policy Forum highlights the appetite in Northern Ireland to continue to develop and implement renewable energy technologies to help reach our renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets. Developed in 2010 with a ten-year implementation plan and 2020 targets for heat and electricity, the Strategic Energy Framework’s deadlines are looming, and with the current policy vacuum in place within our government, Action Renewables has produced our most recent policy document to encourage conversation and continued growth within the sector to meet these targets and improve the long-term forecast for renewable energy in Northern Ireland.

“We look forward to stimulating debate and ultimately driving our renewables sector forward locally following distribution of this document and with the on-going work of our collaborative networking organisation, AREA, which provides expert renewable energy advice to members.”

Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships in small forest-based local heating energy businesses – outcomes from the MADIE project

LUKE1LUKE2

The MADIE project published a booklet which highlights the economics and organizational aspects of small local heating energy supply schemes set up in rural regions as a market-driven business by their owners for earning them a profit and, apart from private self-interests, for promoting the social claims of their stakeholders.

The booklet tells about the Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships, especially in small forest-based local heating energy businesses. Start-up entrepreneurs and their partners need inspiration and guidance in how to establish and operate their business successfully. Besides technical and market information, for starting and organizing a business, multifaceted upfront information is needed. Here, decisions as to the legal form, ownership, liabilities, participation rights and selecting the right partners, are crucial for the continuity of the business. There is a need for arguments that help persuade stakeholders about the legitimacy of the business and related social benefits.

The booklet addresses, among others, forest owners, rural entrepreneurs and their public stakeholders. Policy makers have been attracted by a business model that meets the triple bottom line: by offering an attractive return to investment, providing support to renewable energy transition, and creating jobs and income in rural economies. Co-operatives have been able to demonstrate to be a convenient participatory model of organizing joint business activities.

The booklet, with its focus on renewable energy co-operatives, contributes to the outcomes of the MADIE-project, an initiative supported by the European Union’s Erasmus programme, which offers a comprehensive range of views on 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).

The booklet “Co-operatives and forest-based heating entrepreneurship in a rural setting – the Finnish experience” can be found from here or from the library at https://www.ruralacademy.org/contents

The booklet is available in English and also in Finnish (as summary report from the English version).

Information gained during the MADIE project are beneficial also for the GREBE project and are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme EES Roll–out completed successfully in Finland

KUAS

The roll-out of the GREBE EES in North Karelia took place in February-April. Three companies Eno Energy Cooperative, Rajaforest Ltd. and Havel Ltd. attended in mentoring sessions together with the Spiralia Ltd. – an experienced SME mentoring and consultancy. The results of the EES were positive: there was initiation of new business cooperation, business plan development for a new innovative technology, introduction of LEAN quality management principles, among others.

Eno Energy Cooperative is in a phase of business renewing and thus the focus was in creating and diversifying collaboration with other energy enterprises. These discussions identified opportunities to cooperate in acquisitions and raw material procurements, and potential of additional business activities in wood fuel sector. Rajaforest Ltd. had a technology development case on biomass drying and received support in business planning. Havel Ltd. Benefited from information on renewable alternatives for plastic raw materials, as well as introduction of LEAN quality management in production.

The EES process was rolled-out successfully as it resulted in new collaborations and business activities. The process, developed in GREBE project, will be further adopted for regional use in North Karelia. It was identified that there is still further work to do to establish stronger mentor networks, develop orientation guidance for attending businesses, disseminate the scheme for larger audience, and establish funding base for the service. One potential continuation is to integrate the EES into a new regional renewable energy research and development project prepared by the Karelia UAS and Finnish Forest Centre.

The GREBE project meets in Thurso, Scotland in May 22nd-24th, which provides a unique opportunity to share the EES roll-out experiences between the NPA Programme regions.

GREBE publishes its eight project e-zine

Ezine No8 Front Page

The GREBE Project has published its eight e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

Since December we have continued to carry out the project activities and meet our objectives. Our 8th partner meeting in Kokkola was hosted by LUKE & Karelia UAS, and included a visit to the Vaasa Energy Week for attending SME’s. The aim was to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SME’s and start-up businesses, and also give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland. Details can be found on Page 3.

The two case reports on the transfer of technology and knowledge in the NPA have now been completed and further details are on Page 4. We also have details of the 5.2 Report (Advice Notes) on Page 7. Details of both can be found on the publications page of our website http://grebeproject.eu/publication/.

The GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) held its third annual meeting in Finland and was organized by LUKE. Further details are on Page 3. The Environmental Research Institute held an important workshop for the further development of Orkney’s Hydrogen Economy. Details can be found on Page 5. We also have an update of EES in partner regions on Page 8.

We have a number of upcoming events and will hold our final partner meeting in Thurso in Scotland in late May. We will hold our final conference ‘Local opportunities through Nordic cooperation’ in Thurso on Thursday 24th May 2018. Details can be found on Page 9. Action Renewables are holding a GREBE conference in Belfast on Thursday 21st June and details can also be found on Page 9.

Interested in applying for funding under the NI Rural Development Programme?

RDP NI

The Rural Business Investment Scheme is designed to support the development of a strong and diverse rural economy, investing in new business development and the expansion of existing enterprises to create a balanced and forward looking rural economy. The primary objective of the Scheme is job creation.

The Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (LAG) Ltd will be hosting 5 MANDATORY Funding Workshops across the District Council area for the Rural Business Investment Scheme as follows:

  • Belcoo Community Centre, Belcoo at 7.00pm on Tuesday 24 April 2018
  • Ecclesville Centre, Fintona at 7.00pm on Wednesday 25 April 2018
  • Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown at 7.00pm Thursday 26 April 2018
  • Castle Park Leisure Centre, Lisnaskea at 7.00pm on Tuesday 1 May 2018
  • Milestone Centre, Carrickmore at 7.00pm on Thursday 3 May 2018
  • Tea/Coffee will be available from 7.00pm with events commencing at 7:30pm sharp

If you are interested in applying for funding under the Rural Business Investment Scheme then attendance at one of the workshops is the only entry point. Please note that attendance also includes the requirement to complete an Expression of Interest form on the night (outlining brief details on the proposed project that you are seeking funding for including anticipated costs). Failure of the business owner if a sole trader, one of the partners if operating a business partnership, or one of the Directors if operating a legal entity registered with Companies House to attend a workshop will result in you being ineligible to apply under this call for applications.

For further details about the Funding Workshops or the Programme please contact Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (LAG) Ltd, 16 High Street, Omagh, Co Tyrone, BT78 1BQ Tel: 028 8225 0202.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a competitive programme. Attendance at a Mandatory Funding Workshop or receipt of an invitation to submit an application for financial assistance having attended a Funding Workshop DOES NOT indicate that your application/the project will be awarded financial assistance.

https://www.fermanaghomagh.com/news/interested-applying-funding-ni-rural-development-programme-2/

Ireland’s first Climate Ambassador Programme to tackle the effects of climate change

Climate Ambassador 1

The Climate Ambassador programme is a new initiative to train and support individuals taking action on climate issues and is jointly supported by the Educational Unit in An Taisce (An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland’s natural and built heritage) and also the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE).

Dr. Orla Nic Suibhne recently commenced work with the WDC as a project administrator on the NPA funded LECo project.  Over the past two years, Dr. Nic Suibhne completed a Postdoc with University College Dublin and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland entitled “The energy transition process in a rural community; becoming a Sustainable Energy Community”.

In November 2017, Dr. Nic Suibhne was contacted by Gary Tyrrell, the Climate Action Officer with An Taisce informing her that she had been chosen as one of Irelands first Climate Ambassadors!

There are 100 Climate Ambassadors located throughout Ireland, and the first training day took place in Galway on Saturday 27th January where lots of passionate, experienced climate ambassadors met. Various climate events will take place in Ireland over the next 12 months so please continue to follow us for details.

Further information can be found at http://www.climateambassador.ie/

Climate Ambassador 2                Orla

 

Western Development Commission undertakes biomass survey in Ireland

Wood chip.jpg

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

 

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council continues commitment to sustainable development

FODC logo

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are committed to positively contributing towards the achievement of sustainable development and as such have a Sustainable Development Policy in place which is also accompanied by an annual Sustainable Development Action Plan.

Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of people today and providing them with a good quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

It is characterised typically as achieving an optimum balance between social, environmental and economic considerations.  In achieving this balance, sustainable development aims to maximise the benefits of social, environmental and economic initiatives by mitigating negative and increasing positive impacts.

By working in accordance with our Sustainable Development Policy, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will:

  • Consider sustainability in all its actions and decisions
  • Progressively integrate sustainability principles into its daily activities
  • Seek to increase the awareness of sustainable development generally
  • Ensure that where possible, council activities support the achievement of sustainable development
  • Strive to act as an exemplar for sustainable development, ensuring policies and actions provide a lead to the local and wider community

To download a copy of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Sustainable Development Policy and Action Plan, or to find out more about sustainable development projects and initiatives which the Council are involved in, visit https://www.fermanaghomagh.com/your-council/sustainable-development/

For further information on sustainable development in general, visit http://www.sustainableni.org/