Energy Efficiency and Entrepreneurship

AR Blog

Becoming an entrepreneur can be challenging, therefore it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Most business owners now recognise the importance of energy efficiency measures and sourcing renewable energy where possible. This is due to the cost savings these options can offer, allowing businesses to reinvest in other activities. Saving 20% on your energy bills can generate returns which are equivalent to a 5% increase in sales1.. Additionally, as consumers are becoming more environmentally aware, there are increasing expectations on suppliers, across all sectors, to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, particularly in relation to renewable energy.

A survey completed by Orsted, highlighted that 73% 2. of consumers would choose a retailer that used renewable energy over one that didn’t. Improving your reputation and becoming environmentally conscious needn’t be something that will interrupt or hinder your businesses operations – it can significantly increase your competitiveness.

Committing to renewable energy:

  • Businesses who want to commit to renewable energy can do so through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) either from an electricity supplier or direct engagement with a renewable electricity generator, in more recent times this has been referred to as a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.
  • Alternatively, a business can invest in renewable technology to generate renewable electricity, which satisfies either part or all the businesses electricity demand. On a global scale, RE100 is a collaborative initiative, which some of the world’s most influential companies have joined and committed to 100% renewable electricity. Companies who have committed to RE100 primarily adopt the methods mentioned above to ensure they achieve their targets.

With a steady uptake of ‘green procurement’, which focuses on sourcing and purchasing products and services that use fewer resources and minimises their impact on the environment, there is certainly reason to get your business ‘going green’. In Northern Ireland, the ‘Sustainable Development strategy’ recognises the importance of responsible procurement in the public sector to ensure the effective and efficient use of resources. This was developed to select suppliers who have a sound environmental standing. Therefore, with environmental awareness and targets only set to increase in the future, it stands to sense for businesses to begin exploring their options in relation to sourcing renewable energy, if they have not already done so. This will enable them to ensure business operation remains competitive.

1 https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/energy-efficiency/better-business-guide-to- energy-saving/

2 https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/176726/orsted-claim-73-of-customers-prefer-renewable-energy-retailer/

3 http://there100.org/re100

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Advice Notes on Biomass CHP Economics for the NPA Region

Biomass CHP

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Advice-Notes-biomass-chp-2.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

 

Combined heat and power (CHP) is a method that delivers both heat and power on site in a single, highly efficient process, normally over 80% efficiency. CHP creates electricity and as a by-product of the generation process it produces heat. Wood biomass is fed into the CHP system similar to a normal biomass boiler and the produced gas is then fed to an engine which is connected to a generator generating electricity while the heat produced, can be fed into a heating system. Below is a map showing the productive forest potential in relation to the total area of the country. Biomass is the world’s fourth largest energy source, contributing to nearly 14% of the world’s primary energy demand.

Small scale (<100kW) and micro-scale (<15kW) biomass CHP are particularly suitable for applications in commercial buildings, such as hospitals, schools, industrial premises, office building blocks, and domestic buildings. Optimum system design and implementation is crucial for cost-effective operation and it is established that the best economic performance come about with high load factors when the maximum amount of both electricity and heat sold on-site is maximised.Untitled

A reliable feedstock supply chain is vital for the economic viability of a CHP system. Fuel costs are central since when considering the levelled cost of electricity and heat production, ongoing running costs far outweigh capital investment. CHP systems and specifically the ones smaller in scale necessitate fuel of the highest quality and have very low moisture content, wood chip/pellets between 15% and 30% moisture content. Thus, it is imperative before considering investment in a biomass CHP system to ensure that the right fuel can be sourced locally.

GREBE to hold its ninth and final partner meeting in Thurso, Scotland

 

ERI

The GREBE project partners will hold their ninth and final partner meeting in Thurso in Scotland next week.  We have a busy schedule planned and the Environmental Research Institute has been working to co-ordinate the programme to fit in as much as possible.

On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, we will have our project meeting in the Environmental Research Institutes buildings in Castle Street and in the Centre for Energy & the Environment (CfEE).  This is a £3 million purpose-built centre situated next to The North Highland College UHI. This building was funded as part of the MaREE project by the EU Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Funding Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The CfEE is home to staff working on Renewable Energy & the Environment, Climate Change and Ecology & Ecosystems. The CfEE has open plan office space, conference rooms and workshops, and there are laboratories available for teaching, making it the ideal venue for our partner meeting.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, we visit the Wick district heating scheme, located in Wick, Caithness, in the Highlands region of Scotland. It uses woodchip to generate heat by combustion, supplying steam to Pulteney Distillery and providing heating to around 200 homes and public buildings in the area.

On Thursday, we will host our final conference ‘Local Opportunities through Nordic Cooperation’. The north of Scotland shares many of the challenges and opportunities of its Nordic neighbours. It also has a long and established reputation and vast experience in working with organisations in Northern Europe. It is ideally placed to further collaborate and exchange information and practices to benefit local residents and communities.

Thurso

The conference will highlight the impact and opportunities of existing collaborative work. The free event will focus on existing projects which have worked to use and maintain local, natural resources in a sustainable way, to benefit local regions.

To register for our conference, please contact DESISLAVA.TODOROVA@UHI.AC.UK  or phone + 44 (0) 1847 889 597.

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/

GREBE holds Speed Networking Event in Enniskillen

IMG_2188

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council hosted a meeting of the GREBE project in the week 6th – 10th November 2017.  This meeting, the 7th Partner meeting took place on Tuesday and Wednesday and culminated in a networking event for those businesses who engaged with the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland, and brought them together with a number of businesses from the Republic of Ireland.

The following partners were in attendance:

  • Western Development Commission – Ireland
  • Action Renewables – Northern Ireland
  • Fermanagh and Omagh District Council – Northern Ireland
  • University of the Highlands and Islands – Scotland
  • Natural Research Institute LUKE – Finland
  • Karelia University of Applied Science – Finland
  • Narvik Science Park – Norway
  • Icelandic Centre for Innovation – Iceland

An important aspect of this event was also the involvement of two experts from Finland who were available to the participants for one-to-one meetings, Veikko Mottenen and Saija Rasi. These meetings were positively received and the speed networking event afforded all of those who attended the opportunity to engage with one another, opening up the possibility of joint working opportunities in the future.  The high-energy event was facilitated by Ruth Daly of Sort-IT and was enjoyed by all.

 

After the networking event, the group attended a Chairman’s reception in Enniskillen Townhall, followed by a social event when the networking continued.

Thursday saw the group visit a number of sites to see the range of activities within the area in the Renewable Energy sector.  Site visits were facilitated by the CREST centre at South West College in Enniskillen, an associated partner in the GREBE project, Balcas, who are a major supplier of fuel to the Renewable Energy sector and finally to Ecohog, based in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, whose machinery is built locally and is sold across the globe and has been making significant inroads into the Renewable Energy sector.

GREBEs Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme is now open for applications in Ireland

GREBE EES SME advertV2

The GREBE Project is launching the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Ireland.  GREBE will work with small to medium renewable energy businesses throughout the Western Region to provide support to facilitate their growth through specialised mentoring.

The Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will commission mentors with the appropriate expertise to be assigned to work with businesses to address identified area(s) where help is needed, in order to deliver a bespoke support package.

Applications are welcomed from all small to medium renewable energy businesses, based in the Western Region (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway & Clare).   Participating businesses will be matched with an appropriate mentor to meet their business needs, based on areas of specialism and scoring.

An Expression of Interest application form may be downloaded from the GREBE website here or requested by email from paulineleonard@wdc.ie

Completed applications must be returned to GREBE Project, Western Development Commission, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, or alternatively via email: paulineleonard@wdc.ie not later than 12.00 Noon on Friday 17th November 2017.

This project is funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme.   For further information on the GREBE Project, please visit our website www.grebeproject.eu

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/