Karelia University of Applied Sciences implements pilot mentoring programme


Janne Uutela from Rajaforest Ltd (left) and Juha Määttä from Spiralia Ltd in a mentoring session.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences is implementing a pilot mentoring programme for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. Mentoring will take place from January 2018 to April 2018 for three renewable energy related companies in North Karelia. The mentoring will provide the companies with suggestions for production process development, new business and product ideas and ways to develop their company as a whole.

Mentoring is not so common in Finland as it is in, for example, Ireland so the experiences of GREBE’s Irish partner form a basis for this mentoring process.  Karelia launched an open call for companies in spring 2017 and received an expression of interest from three companies: Eno Energy Cooperative, Havel Ltd and Rajaforest Ltd. The current situation, needs and wishes for the mentoring process were discussed in 2017 and the tendering process for the mentor was made in late 2017. Mentoring includes 12 individual meetings with the mentor.

The mentoring takes place in a rather short timeframe, from January to April 2018 and is performed by Juha Määttä from Spiralia Ltd. The topics discussed so far in the mentoring sessions have included current challenges of the companies. They are looking into the strategic choices for the future, implementation of a development project and developing the production process. All companies have openly brought forward challenges and problems in their activities and the dialogue between the mentor and mentee (company) has been active in searching for alternative solutions. The mentor has proposed several optional solutions, which will be developed further in the coming months.

More information on the outcomes will follow in May 2018.



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


Nordregio Working Paper on Bio-energy Development in North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland

KUAS 08-11-2017

Nordregio has released a working paper looking into rural bio-energy development in the region of North Karelia in Finland, and Jämtland and Västernorrland in Sweden. The paper identifies the enabling factors behind the relatively successful local bio-energy development and considers how the bio-energy development has influenced sustainable local and regional development.

The working paper is a part of the TRIBORN Project, which investigates how to increase the production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development understood as positive economic, social and environmental outcomes – in rural areas.

TRIBORN is a Norwegian-led research project investigating how to increase production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development in rural areas. It aims to understand and foster systems for bioenergy innovation and related support policies that can produce positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) leads the project, and the Research Council of Norway funds the project. In addition, the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute and Nordregio, a Nordic research institute for regional studies, are key partners in the project.

For the GREBE partner region of North Karelia, the report summarizes the bioenergy sectors success factors and development, but also challenges related to the utilisation of the sectors potential. The report refers to the OECD Green Growth Studies stating that “many favorable institutional factors for regional innovation are in place in North Karelia: strong local government with willingness to act, local ownership of power utilities, presence of strong research institutes and education facilities, tradition of co-operative organization, legitimacy of local bioenergy production and presence of local and regional actors in several stages in the supply chain”.

As development challenges, the report identifies several aspects, such as changes in forest and bio-energy policy; access to risk finance and other economic challenges facing especially local small and medium-sized enterprises; the challenge of ageing population; and the question of openness of the current innovation platform for innovation and development around other thematic areas than forestry and bio-energy. For instance, bio-economy opportunities in the agri-food sector could be investigated in more detail.

The collaboration with Nordregio and TRIBORN project has provided valuable development information for the bioeconomy sector in North Karelia, as well as comparisons to the sector development in northern Sweden.

Publication Facts

Bioenergy Development in Finland and Sweden: The cases of North Karelia, Jämtland, and Västernorrland

Nordregio Working paper 2017:6

ISBN: 978-91-87295-53-9; ISSN: 1403-2503

Editors: Anna Berlina and Nelli Mikkola with contributions by Karen Refsgaard and Alberto Huerta Morales

Full text available for download: http://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1147107/FULLTEXT02.pdf

Western Development Commission undertakes biomass survey in Ireland

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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


Iceland Geothermal Conference to be held in Harpa, Reykjavik on 24-26 April 2018

IGC image

Registration is now open for the 4th Iceland Geothermal Conference (IGC) will be hosted in Harpa, Reykjavik in April 2018. The conference offers an in-depth discussion of the challenges in development of the geothermal sector.  It also focuses on the business environment built on three separate themes: vision, development, and operations.

This conference in 2018 offers science trips to nearby geothermal areas and easy access to Icelandic geothermal experts.  IGC historically offers quality lectures presented by carefully selected speakers from around the world.  This conference is the home for networking where buyers and sellers get the opportunity to form new relationships that could lead to new business opportunities.  The founders of IGC are familiar of the fact that networking is the key to any good conference.

Past IGCs have been a success, with an average of 700 participants each year.  IGC is a nonprofit event sponsored by the Iceland Geothermal Cluster Initiative.  The conference was set up as an international platform for the geothermal industry and project developers, to gather and share views on how to improve the business environment for geothermal projects.

Iceland Geothermal Cluster Initiative (IGCI) is a non-profit organization which goal is to promote geothermal energy as a competitive renewable energy solution for businesses and society. Geothermal resources in general are renewable and ideally suited to supply baseload energy improving energy security and encourage growth.

The IGCI and its members take part in hosting events and workshops, receiving delegations, sharing knowledge and experience, and assist in promoting geothermal energy. The cluster participates actively in defining best practice methodology for the sector and building up international cooperation to map best practice methods across the world, as well as performing energy related analyses and publishing reports and paper.

Registration and further information about the conference can be found on the IGCI website www.igc.is

Furthermore a youtube video on the IGC 2018 can be seen by following this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7o_zAWMFMk

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/

The GREBE Project holds its 6th partner meeting in Norway

M Doran presenting

The GREBE project partners are holding their sixth partner meeting this week in Narvik, Norway.   The Western Development Commission and the Norwegian partners Narvik Science Park have been working together to prepare a programme to fit in as much as possible.

GREBE site visit

During the first part of our partner meeting we discussed our activities since our meeting in Finland in February and progress on rolling out our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme to the partner regions, and plans for the next six months.  Discussions are taking place on other work package activities including the development of our online funding options decision making tool, our Virtual Energy Ideas Hub and the development of a Renewable Energy Resource Assessment Toolkit.  Tomorrow (Thursday) we will visits to Statkraft, Nordkraft, Fortum Wind Park and meetings with some other SMEs in the Narvik area.   We will have details of our activities in future blog posts and our next e-zine.