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

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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.

Albatern WaveNet Device – Isle of Muck Deployment

Albatern was founded in 2007 by David Finlay, supported by his father and brother. From 2007 until 2010 the development of the technology was very much on a self-funded basis, to come up with the concept and develop early models. It was validated in test environments, going from the bath to open waters.

Isle of Muck is the smallest of four main islands in the Small Isles, part of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is situated on the west coast of Scotland.

The project was a collaboration between Albatern and Marine Harvest Scotland. Albatern owns the technology, while the site is provided by Marine Harvest Scotland. The project in itself is a demonstrator project aiming to corroborate the supply of supplementary power to working fish farms by testing the 6-Series WaveNET arrays.

Motivation behind the project lays in the fact that aquaculture is one of Albatern’s targeted markets. They believe that their device – WaveNET, is perfectly apt to deliver power to isolated off-shore fish farm sites, which currently rely on diesel generators.

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Wave-Energy-Albatern-WaveNet-Scotland.pdf

Highlands and Islands University and Queen’s University Belfast in marine renewable energy partnership

AR - Prof Ian Bryden

An £8.2 million cross-border research centre for renewable energy has been launched at Queen’s University in Belfast, in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands. The Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research will focus on technologies such as tidal power. This will involve staff completing research at ocean energy sites in Western Scotland, Northern Ireland and in Ireland.

Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands said it was proud to collaborate with partners to develop what is expected to be cutting edge research. “There is huge potential for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to lead the way in marine and bio-energy,” he said. The work initiated by the centre is expected to help realise that potential and to deliver a lasting economic impact across the wider region in the process.

The centre will recruit 34 PhD students working in a range of marine and bio-energy disciplines, and 5 will be based at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Partners include Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, Donegal County Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council. The centre is named after the late Professor Ian Bryden, a Scot who became a leading expert in marine renewable energy over a 30 year research career in organisations such as UHI. It has been developed with European Union funding and support from the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland.

There has been considerable excitement about the potential for Scotland to harness its marine energy resources to help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. However, firms operating in tidal and wave power have faced challenges in demonstrating the commercial appeal of such technologies following a sharp fall in the cost of generating electricity from wind.

Source: MARK WILLIAMSON / 19th January 2018

GREBE Reports on Technology Case Studies

Wavenet - page 4

Many regions of the NPA have some of the best renewable energy resources; however in many cases they are not being effectively exploited. The Case Studies aim to address this by the assessment of a range of renewable energy technologies to determine the drivers and barriers for their transferability to other areas in the NPA where the same renewable energy resource  are available but are not widely exploited.

The Case Studies exemplify how, through the proper identification of appropriate and scaled technological solutions, renewable energy resources in each partner region, can meet the demands of energy markets. The technology case studies were informed by engagement with technology providers and other relevant stakeholders. The focus of the case studies is on technological choices (details of how these operate, innovations etc.), funding mechanisms, processes of delivery and adaptation in different partner regions, assessment of technical and financial risks, and demonstration/piloting routines.

The case study collection provides evidence and data on important drivers and barriers and an in-depth analysis of the Renewable Energy technologies feasibility prospect to be transferred across partner regions. The case studies cover technologies, market access and business growth paths.

These cases studies are based on the following technologies:

TableTM

Further information can be found on the case studies section under the publications page here: http://grebeproject.eu/publication/

GREBE participates in Galway Chamber’s Energy Conference

Panel-Discussion-3

The GREBE Project participated in Galway Chamber’s energy conference in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday 12th May 2017.  As part of the panel on the International Perspective, Pauline Leonard (GREBE Project Co-ordinator) stressed the benefits of renewable energy for the social and economic development of peripheral regions and the benefits of working with international partners in terms of technology and knowledge transfer. Other participants on the international panel included Chris Stark (Scottish Government Director of Energy and Climate Change), Denise Massey (MD of Energy Innovation Centre UK), Alex White (Energy Policy Group Chair at the Institute of International & European Affairs and former Minster for Energy) and Jim Mulcair (Chairman of Roadbridge).

The conference was organised by Galway Chamber of Commerce and its president Conor O’Dowd expects to see 30% more people living in Galway by 2050. Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne TD, outlined the Government’s position on the energy sector and stressed how important this sector is to the region.  The leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan highlighted the need for a zero carbon society by 2050

The conference was sponsored by Coillte and SSE, and James O’Hara of SSE stated that the development of Galway Wind Park will herald a huge increase in renewable electricity generation in the West of Ireland.  It will involve 69 turbines, powering up to 84,000 homes and effectively replacing 190,000 tonnes of carbon generated electricity each year.  The wind park near Moycullen will become Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm to date and will assist Galway in achieving the status of a net exporter of renewable energy.

Brian Sheridan of the Galway Harbour Company and John Breslin of SmartBay outlined the potential for marine energy in the region, with discussions about offshore wind and the generation of wave and tidal power.

Report reveals massive range of UK wind, wave and tidal energy industries’ exports

Offshore wind

A report published by RenewableUK shows for the first time that UK-based companies working in the wind, wave and tidal energy sectors are exporting goods and services worldwide on a massive scale. 

Export Nation: A Year in UK Wind, Wave and Tidal Exports” reveals that in 2016, an illustrative sample of 36 UK-based firms featured in the report signed more than 500 contracts to work on renewable energy projects in 43 countries in Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Australasia. The contracts featured ranged in value from £50,000 up to £30 million each.

This is the first time that the industry has assessed the extent of Britain’s global reach in these innovative technologies, and the wide range of products and services we sell overseas. The diverse reach of the contracts indicates that the UK is well placed to benefit from the $290bn global renewables market, trading with countries inside and outside the EU.

Projects featured include: Gaia-Wind in Glasgow which is exporting small onshore wind turbines as far afield as Tonga; JDR Cables which is manufacturing massive subsea power cables in Hartlepool for German offshore wind farms; and Sustainable Marine Energy in Edinburgh, which is making tidal turbine platforms for Singapore. The UK’s world-leading wave and tidal testing centres off the coasts of Cornwall and Orkney are highlighted as the destinations of choice for global companies testing full-size devices in real sea conditions.

The UK is exporting its knowledge too, with renewable energy consultancy firms in places such as Bristol, Newcastle, Colchester and Winchester, winning contracts to plan and oversee the development of wind farms and other renewable energy projects in dozens of countries including the USA, China, India, Chile, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Mauritius.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: “The UK’s wind, wave and tidal energy exports are great British success stories on the international stage. Our businesses are securing hundreds of contracts, worth millions of pounds, across six continents. Our leadership in this $290bn renewables marketplace will be even more important as we leave the EU.   

“We need to act swiftly to retain this competitive advantage or other nations will capitalise on the hard work our businesses have done to build opportunities. This year, as part of its Industrial Strategy, the Government will be looking to identify and support world-leading, innovative industries with global trade potential. This report shows that the UK’s wind and marine energy sectors can offer much to the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Britain must secure its position as a leading exporter in tomorrow’s global energy market”.  

The study is released in the same week as the Global Wind Energy Council’s annual report (on Tuesday 25th April), which will highlight developments in the international wind energy market, offering further opportunities for British exporters.

Notes:

  1. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the wind, wave and tidal energy industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 400 corporate members which employ more than 250,000 people, RenewableUK is the country’s leading renewable energy trade association.
  2. The report is available here (NB it is a large file which will take several minutes to download). The study covers a sample of 36 companies based on a survey of member companies by RenewableUK. It also includes data from publicly announced contracts.  In 2016, these 36 companies signed 557 export contracts for work on 527 renewable energy projects overseas in the onshore wind, offshore wind, wave and tidal energy industries. These range from individual orders for small turbines to multi-million pound contracts to provide massive components and heavy-duty infrastructure for offshore wind farms. The actual number of UK companies exporting, and the number of contracts signed, will be higher as the sample represents less than 10% of RenewableUK’s membership.  The purpose of this study was to begin to assess the extent of export activity among UK-based wind, wave and tidal energy companies.
  3. The UK wind industry has an annual turnover of more than £5.9 billion in direct economic activity, according to the Office for National Statistics. This rises to over £11.3 billion when indirect economic activity is included. Offshore wind alone is bringing over £20 billion in investment to Britain over the course of this decade.
  4. GWEC’s annual Global Wind Market Report will be published on Tuesday 25th April. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of the global wind industry in more than 80 countries. This year’s edition includes insights into the 20 top wind markets across the world, including new entrants Vietnam and Argentina, and a five-year global market forecast out to 2021.