Forestry felling licenses are taking up to a year to process farmers are being warned by the IFA. National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said that the latest IFA Timber Price report shows that palletwood prices have increased by up to 15pc since February, while average sawlog prices are in excess of €85/tonne. Pat Collins said, “With demand for timber predicted to remain high at a domestic and global level, it is a good time to consider forestry. There are several options available under the Afforestation and Woodland Creation scheme to suit the soil, size, location and management objectives”.
He said that the size of a viable forest from a timber perspective is very location specific, for example a small forest that is near a road and easy to work can generate comparable timber incomes per hectare as a larger forests, particularly if managed as part of a harvesting cluster. “For those who have already planted, but who have not managed the forest or have timber in hard-to-access locations – now is the time to have your asset valued and look at realising a good price”. A farmer is legally required to apply to the Forest Service for a felling license before they can fell a tree in his plantation. If you are planning to apply for a felling licence, approvals can take up to 12 months to issue.
“Farmers are very concerned with the delays in getting felling licence approval”, said Mr. Collins. “The introduction of a single 10 year felling licence and the new public consultation process, although welcomed, is causing further delays”. He said that the Department must work to reduce the turnaround time for felling licence approvals so farmers can avail of the strong timber prices.
This project was a demonstration project under the GREAT Project (Growing Renewable Energy Applications and Technologies) which is an EU funded project under the INTERREG IVB NWE Programme. GREAT aimed to encourage communities and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) to develop technological solutions for Smart Grid, Renewable Energy and Distributive Generation; to research and develop policy issues for regulatory authorities and to provide structured co-operation opportunities between SMEs and research institutes / technology developers.
Údarás Na Gaeltachta was lead partner on the GREAT Project, with two full-time staff allocated to the co-ordination and implementation of their project aims. Each Leim Enterprise Centre was selected as a demonstration site. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also provided funding for this demonstration project under the Better Energy Communities (BEC) programme, and Údarás Na Gaeltachta utilized the expertise available in the SEAI in the development of the smart grid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preparations are underway for our next Big Conference! Action Renewables is hosting a GREBE Conference on 21st June 2018 in Belfast. The marketing team here at Action Renewables are working hard to come up with a new concept of delivery that will keep the audience engaged and provide an enjoyable day of events. Here is a short preview of what is to come:
The Conference aims to showcase policy in 7 EU Renewable Energy Projects in Northern Ireland with a particular focus on the GREBE EU Project.
Guest speakers will demonstrate the most recent developments in Renewable Energy Technologies.
An outline on how the GREBE project has identified elements of good policy which could be applied to Northern Ireland.
- Pauline Leonard, Western Development Commission Lead Partner, will disseminate the overall results and impact of the GREBE EU Programme across the region.
- Roisin Deery, Action Renewables will present GREBE Policy findings across the regions.
- Una Porteous, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council will provide an overview on the success of the SME mentoring scheme throughout all the partners regions in ROI, NI, Scotland, Finland and Iceland.
- The second part of the Conference will showcase other EU Renewable Energy Projects currently running in Northern Ireland: RECENT, SEAFUEL, REDAWN, SPIRE2, GENCOMM and Renewable Engine.
So, Watch This Space!
More information to come in the next few weeks
Check out our website:
If you are interested in attending this event, please get in touch
with Ian Gordon at email@example.com