New scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels launched today

solarPanelsRoofInstall_large

A new scheme encouraging homeowners to install solar panels has been launched this morning. The pilot scheme offers grants for the installation of solar panels and extra funds to install battery storage systems.  Environment Minister Denis Naughten says the scheme will allow people to turn their home into their very own “renewable power station.” He said homeowners can save around €220 in electricity costs every year by taking advantage of the scheme.

Announcing the grants for homeowners, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD said: “Turning your home into a renewable power station is now one step closer. Microgeneration is an incredibly exciting space that will allow citizens in local communities to generate their own electricity and contribute towards Ireland’s climate action targets. With this grant that I am announcing today, a typical 3-bed semi-detached house would spend about €1,800 on a solar panel system and would save approximately €220 per year on their electricity bills.”

The Minister added: “The pilot scheme will be subject to a 6-month review at which time the costs of installation will be assessed and further opportunities to broaden this scheme to other groups and other technologies will be explored.” The scheme will be funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The grant is available for homes built and occupied before 2011 and details of eligibility criteria and how to apply are set out here. A registered solar PV installer must be used and a full list of registered installers is also available on the SEAI website.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/

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Government approves scheme to diversify green energy

DNaughten

A new scheme designed to diversify the State’s renewable energy production and boost its chances of meeting key EU targets has been approved by the Government. The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is designed to help the State meet its renewable pledges up to 2030. Its first priority is to boost renewable energy production quickly to help turn 16 per cent of the State’s energy needs “green” by 2020. The scheme will incentivise the introduction of sufficient renewable electricity generation by promoting investment by community groups in green projects. Offshore wind and tidal projects will be central if the State is to meet its targets, while it is expected to also support an immediate scale-up of solar projects. Projects looking for support under the scheme will need to meet pre-qualification criteria, including offering the community an opportunity to invest in and take ownership of a portion of renewable projects in their local area.

Auction system

The RESS scheme introduces a new auction system where types of energy will bid for State support. It is proposed that the scheme be funded through the Public Service Obligation Levy, which is a charge on consumers to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources. Individual projects will not be capped, but the Government will limit the amount that a single technology, such as wind or tidal, can win in a single auction. The auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme to allow the State to take advantage of falling technology costs. The first auction in 2019 will prioritise “shovel-ready projects”. “By not auctioning all the required capacity at once, we will not be locking in higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme,” Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten said. In effect it should make it easier for solar and offshore wind to get investment, yielding multiple billions for green projects over the next 15 years.

2020 vision

It is hoped renewable energy will represent 40 per cent of the State’s gross electricity consumption by 2020, and 55 per cent by 2030, subject to determining the cost-effective level that will be set out in the draft National Energy and Climate Plan, which must be approved by the EU and in place by the end of 2019. In addition the scheme is intended to deliver broader energy policy objectives, including enhancing security of supply. “This scheme will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to a more market-oriented mechanism [auctions] where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators,” said Mr Naughten. The next step for the Government is to secure EU approval for the package, which typically takes six to nine months. It is estimated that the first auction will be in the second half of next year.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/government-approves-scheme-to-diversify-green-energy-1.3575492

Increased generation from Scottish renewables

Windfarm near Ardrossan, Scotland

In June the UK Government released figures showing that renewable energy generation has seen a dramatic 11% increase in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Improved weather conditions for generation have seen wind generation in Scotland increase by 37%.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish energy minister, said: “These figures show that Scotland’s renewable energy sector is stronger than ever with almost exactly 1GW of new capacity installed since Q1 2017 and a strong pipeline of further projects still to be constructed.” Last year proved to be another record breaking year with provisional annual statistics showing that renewable electricity generation was up 27% on 2016 and 19% on 2015. The increase in generation now brings 69% of Scotland’s electricity consumption being delivered by renewable energy.

Scotland has long delivered on world leading electricity targets and is helped by an abundant onshore wind resource and historic hydro system. As the Scottish Government builds out new offshore wind and tidal projects the increase in generation only looks to continue. Recent plans for a new pumped storage hydro scheme on Scotland’s famous Loch Ness show a long term vision for the country’s electricity grid as it looks to increase penetration of renewables into its grid system. Climate change targets have been helped by the closure of Scotland’s last remaining coal powered fire station in recent years but ageing nuclear power stations and a “no new nuclear” policy look to add new challenges in the future.

Taxi drivers to get €7,000 grant for switching to electric cars

Taxi

Taxi drivers and operators of other public service vehicles are set to benefit from a new €7,000 grant scheme aimed at encouraging them to opt for electric vehicles. Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, has announced a new incentive scheme offering a €7,000 grant towards the purchase of an electric vehicle for those with a small public service vehicle (SPSV) licence. That grant is on top of the existing electric car incentives – the €5,000 rebate on vehicle registration tax, a €3,800 grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and the upcoming new grant from the SEAI for installing a home-charging point.

The Department of Transport grant applies to any fully electric vehicle up to six years old, although the amount reduces according to the age of the car. A smaller €3,500 grant applies if you want to buy a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for taxi use, but only those with Co2 emissions lower than 65g/km. Conventional hybrids are excluded.

The move is the latest in a series of measures being introduced by the Government to promote electric car ownership. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe introduced a one-year exemption on benefit in kind for electric vehicles in the budget, and it is expected that the exemption will be rolled out for at least three years, including a suspension of any benefit in kind levied on charging your electric car at work.

Meanwhile, Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten has stated that he is looking at other ways to encourage an increase in the move to electric vehicles, including making motorways tolls free for electric cars and banning sales of any non-hybrid or electric car from 2030 onwards. However, the current financial incentives are still not having much effect. Electric cars accounted for a paltry 0.25 per cent of the market last year, with just 622 sold in total in a total new car market of 131,335.

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com

Energy In Agriculture 2017 event in Gurteen College, Roscrea – Tuesday 22nd August

Energy In Agriculture 2017

The Energy in Agriculture Open Day will take place at Gurteen College, Balingarry, Roscrea next Tuesday (22nd August) from 10am. This large outdoor and indoor event includes practical demonstrations, classroom talks and demonstrations from exhibitors of energy efficient and renewable technologies for the agri-sector.  The inaugural event last year was a huge success with 1500 farmers and 45 exhibitors in attendance.  The brochure for the event can be downloaded here

Energy in Agriculture 2017 will highlight opportunities for farmers with regards to renewable energy and how they can adopt a sustainable approach to their farming processes. The event is FREE to attend. This event will feature talks on all aspects of energy use and generation on the farm, practical demonstrations and sixty industry exhibitors.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD will open the event. He will also take part in a panel discussion on Sustainability in Agriculture facilitated by RTE Countrywide’s Damien O’ Reilly.

The event is being organised by Tipperary County Council in conjunction with Teagasc, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Irish Farmers Association. Paul Kenny, CEO Tipperary Energy Agency said “The full extent of climate change and our obligations are now becoming a reality for policy makers in Ireland. Rural areas will fuel and power the energy transition from imported fossil fuels to sustainable electricity and bio based energy systems. Farmers need to ensure they are up to speed on the potential for growth in this area”. Dr. Phyll Bugler, Cathaoirleach Tipperary County Council added “Tipperary County Council recognises the huge potential for the agricultural community to be part of the energy transition and to generate economic development in rural areas. The Energy in Agriculture Event seeks to highlight opportunities across all renewable energy and efficiency options, to support Ireland’s farming community in becoming leaders in reducing carbon emissions”.

New in 2017 are the FREE 1 to 1 Energy Clinics. Farmers can book an advice clinic to discuss their energy project with an expert. The clinics will be run on the themes of Finance, Legal, Energy Projects, Planning and Tax. You can book your slot in advance on www.energyinagriculture.ie

Case Studies on the day include heating and cooling in Dairy, renewable energy production on pig farms, combined heat and power (CHP) in horticulture and grain drying with straw burning. There will be a total of 18 talks on the day.

The event will also feature numerous practical demonstrations. These include the wind turbine and biomass boiler in use at Gurteen College. Attendees will see an anaerobic digester from Gas Networks Ireland at work on the day. There is also be an opportunity to see a ‘no energy’ water ram pump in action, which offers a cheap alternative to a traditional fuel or electric water pumps.

For further information, see www.energyinagriculture.ie and register online at http://energyinagriculture.ie/register/