GREBE Reports on Technology Case Studies

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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/

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Galway giant spins in Ireland

Galway wind farm

SSE and Coillte have started commercial operations at the 169MW Galway wind farm in Connemara, Ireland. The €281m project, which is located in the Cloosh Valley, was built in two phases and consists of 58 Siemens Gamesa 3MW turbines. The 64MW first phase is owned and was fully financed by SSE at an investment cost of around €105m.

The 105MW second phase is a 50/50 joint venture between SSE and Coillte which was funded by project finance totalling €176m. Finance was agreed in 2016 with BBVA, Coöperatieve Rabobank UA, and NORD/LB. Electricity generated by the wind farm will be provided to SSE’s retail arm SSE Airtricity. The project will also soon launch a community fund, which will operate for the lifetime of the wind farm.

More information on this article can be found at: http://renews.biz/108885/galway-giant-spins-in-ireland/

 

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.

Repowering onshore wind in the Highlands and Islands

wind turbine 16-05-2017

Planning permissions and consents for onshore wind farms in the UK generally require decommissioning and restoration after a 25-year lifetime. With some of the earliest windfarms being built in the early 1990s we are starting to look at what happens next. With proper operations and maintenance, there is no reason that windfarms can’t operate past this lifetime, especially if they’re receiving ROC payments.

It is important if we want to continue to decarbonise the economy that these existing consented sites continue to produce low carbon electricity and this is represented in Scottish Planning Policy:

‘Proposals to repower existing wind farms which are already in suitable sites where environmental and other impacts have been shown to be capable of mitigation can help to maintain or enhance installed capacity, underpinning renewable energy generation targets. The current use of the site as a wind farm will be a material consideration in any such proposals.’

We are now coming to a stage where many of the first windfarm sites using small clusters of 600KW turbines at around 70m in tip height are coming to the end of their operational lifetime. In many cases, and in eventually in all cases it will be more economic to “repower” the site.

There are numerous benefits in utilising a site, which is already powered: they are grid connected, planned for and there’s years of real data that can inform new design. There can be some difficulties if bases needed replaced or grid connection needs upgraded, the key however is that the sites have the planning permissions in place, if not for larger turbines.

Some sites might even be economically viable to repower before the 25-year lifetime is achieved due to the financial performance of the site and the rapid evolution and increase in wind turbine size. The progress in the last 20 years has been phenomenal with prices tumbling as hub height increases and economies of scale are seen.

There are many options for repowering sites such as maintaining the grid connection capacity by increasing turbine size but lowering numbers. Some sites may wish to maintain turbine numbers but increase the size and capacity but how do these large turbines affect the visual requirements of the area? Sometimes few larger turbines are deemed more acceptable.

Although many sites will not be considered for repowering before the mid-2020s the procedures need to be put in place now and trialled on some of the earliest Highland wind farms. Given the time it has taken to consent these original windfarms there can’t be considerable downtime between decommissioning and repowering considering the ambitious decarbonisation targets the Scottish Government has set.

In an ideal world, we would move to planning for perpetuity.