Eight organisations representing renewable energy in Ireland united today to call on Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD to set a target to supply 70 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030.
These 8 organisations are as follows:
Irish Wind Energy Association
Irish Solar Energy Association
Irish Bioenergy Association
Irish Wind Farmers Association
Host in Ireland
Irish Energy Storage Association
Marine Renewables Industry Association
Smart Grid Ireland
In June 2018 the European Union agreed that 32 per cent of the EU’s energy – across electricity, heat and transport – will come from renewables by 2030. Ireland’s share of that target will be negotiated with the EU in the coming months.
A comprehensive report from leading energy and utilities experts Baringa may be downloaded here. It says it is technically possible and cost neutral to the consumer for Ireland to use renewable energy to supply 70 per cent of our electricity by 2030, which would go a long way towards reaching the EU target. A summary of the report can be found here.
It follows confirmation from the Climate Change Advisory Council in July that Ireland will miss its overall 2020 target for renewable energy, warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighting the failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comes as the International Panel on Climate Change meets in Korea.
In September the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action began meeting to respond to the calls from the Citizens’ Assembly earlier this year for Ireland to become a leader in tackling climate change. Currently, approximately 30 per cent of Irish electricity comes from renewables and while Ireland will fall short of its overall 2020 target it is expected to still reach its 40 per cent electricity target.
In June 2018 the EU agreed to increase the share of renewables in energy to 32 per cent by 2030 and in December the Irish Government will publish its draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). This plan will set out Ireland’s 2030 renewable energy target and likely will, like the 2020 target, be broken down across the electricity, heat and transport sectors. It is expected that Ireland will be one of two EU countries to miss our 2020 target of 16 per cent renewable energy although our target of 40 per cent renewable electricity is still achievable.
The Toolkit outlines best practice techniques for assessing wind resource potentials as a foundation for a wind resource assessment. The wind resource assessment entails industry-accepted guidelines for planning and conducting a wind resource measurement program to support a wind energy feasibility initiative. These guidelines do not embody every single potential technique of conducting a quality wind measurement program, but they address the most essential elements based on field-proven experience.
The scope of the Toolkit covers:
Wind resource assessment 101
Sitting of monitoring systems
Measurement parameters and monitoring instruments
Installation of monitoring stations
Site operation and maintenance
Data collection and management
Comparison of observed wind data with historical norm
Wind flow modelling
The first wind turbines for electricity generation were developed at the beginning of the 20th century. Thus, wind technology is one of the most mature and proven technologies on the market. In 2015, the wind energy industry installed 12.8 GW in the EU – more than gas and coal combined. Globally, the current wind power installation capacity has reached 435GW with a significant growth rate of 16.4% in 2014 and 17.2% in 2015.
Wind turbines offer the prospects of cost efficient generation of electricity and fast return on investment. The economic feasibility of wind turbines depends primarily on the wind speed. Usually, the greater the long term annual average wind speed, the more electricity will be generated and the faster the investment will pay back. However, it is important to access the wind power potential (WPP) at any prospective location to decide the capacity of wind resource for electricity generation within available time limits of wind duration. Hence, it is relevant to observe the wind characteristics and type of wind turbine technology suitable for any given promising location. These factors are very much helpful for wind power developers and investors to make a decision with respect to the economic constraints.
Details of the Resource Assessment Toolkit for Wind Energy may be downloaded here:
The key requirement of this work package is the development of a database (and supporting summary report), compiling information for potential renewable energy business and technology solutions to help overcome environmental and climatic challenges in the NPA programme region. Technology solutions cover installation, operation and maintenance of equipment, not the design and manufacture of components.
The objective of the database is to identify the main environmental and climatic challenges, and outline technological and business solutions to these challenges, creating a database of these for 8 different categories of renewable energy technology. It is designed for use by new and existing renewable energy businesses, to inform them of the challenges they may face in developing their business and how these will be overcome.
A range of examples (where available) have been highlighted on how the challenges identified have been overcome. Specific regional related innovations and smart solutions from local business on technology driven RE-solutions have been documented, with the intention of passing on this knowledge to other regions in the NPA not involved in the GREBE Project.
The 8 renewable energy technology categories identified by the GREBE Project partnership are:
Wind (Onshore only)
Ground source heat pump
Air source heat pump
Anaerobic Digestion (farm scale/agricultural)
The database is located on the Renewable Business Platform and can be downloaded here.
IceWind designs and manufactures small vertical axis wind turbines for telecom towers and residential applications such as homes, cabins and farms.
The IceWind vertical axis wind technology has been designed in response to the growing demand for renewable technologies. It demonstrates that turbines can be an elegant, quiet, durable, cost effective and nearly maintenance free solution for energy production.
The company was founded in 2012 but development goes back to 2008, when Anemometer was designed as a final project in University of Iceland, where it all started.
The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Full details are available on the GREBE website:
The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:
Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.
The first wind turbines for electricity generation were developed at the beginning of the 20th century. Thus, wind technology is one of the most mature and proven technologies on the market. In 2015, the wind energy industry installed 12.8 GW in the EU – more than gas and coal combined. Onshore wind is presently one of the most economically viable RE generation technologies. In areas with good wind resources, generating electricity with wind turbines is already competitive. Thus, wind turbines offer the prospects of cost efficient generation of electricity and fast return on investment. The economic feasibility of wind turbines depends primarily on the wind speed. Usually, the greater the long term annual average wind speed, the more electricity will be generated and the faster the investment will pay back. The map below gives an overall picture of the wind potential across the globe, showing that the NPA region has a great potential to harness the benefits associated with wind energy generation.
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.
The Dingwall Wind Co-op was developed by David and Richard Lockett (the owners of the land) in partnership with Sharenergy, a co-operative helping to set up RE cooperatives. The turbine operates on the property of the Knockbain Farm near Dingwall. The Locketts’ acquired planning permission and grid connection, after they approached Sharenergy, which assured they can help them with the share offer to the rest of the community. The co-op structure, mitigated some of the risks associated with developing a wind project. Furthermore, Richard specified that he was fond of the idea of shared ownership.
The Wind Co-op owns and runs a 250kW wind turbine (WTN 250) just above Dingwall in Ross-shire. The turbine is the first 100% co-operatively owned wind development in Scotland. The Co-op was launched in September 2013 and the turbine was commissioned in June 2014. The Co-op has 179 members, 90% of whom are from the local area. The shares are between £250 and £20 000, with an average about £4000.
The co-op contributes to a community fund estimated at between £2000 and £8000/year. Members of the Co-op receive a return on their investment and EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme for Investors) tax relief. The landowners, who originated the project, receive a rental payment for use of their land.
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.
In Finland, the regulation concerning the support schemes for renewable energy are going through significant changes. A new legislative proposal presents a technology-neutral subsidy scheme based on a competitive bidding process with premiums. The topic was discussed by market players and industry at Energy Regulation Workshop (March 21st, Vaasa City hall).
In 2010 Finland introduced feed-in tariff as economic support mechanism for wind, biogas and wood fuel based combined heat and power. The mechanism has been effective in creating wind power capacity from below 1% market share to about 5.7%. However, the scheme has been also expensive as the electricity market price has been lower than expected. The feed-in tariff for wind, biogas and wood fuel power plants comprises the target price less than the three-month mean market price of electricity. The target price is €83.50/MWh. At the beginning of the scheme the market price varied €45 to €55/MWh but at the end of the support period it has been €30 to €35MWh.
In Vaasa Energy Week preparation of the support scheme based on a competitive bidding process with premiums was discussed. Total of 2 TWh of renewable energy would be generated through the scheme. However, details of the scheme, definitions concerning technological neutrality and schedule of the scheme remained open. Several presentations, representing the industry and market players, forecasted significant increase of the wind power capacity in Finland – despite the details of the new support scheme. For instance one major market player, OX2 informed about their own objectives for Finland being 500-600 MW of wind power, which is about the same as the 2TWh objective. This major market growth would be based on:
large number of projects prepared during the feed-in tariff system
interest among investors
fast technological development (bigger turbines, rotors, towers)
competitive procurement processes, and
large base of experienced and internationally active project developer
In addition, PPA’s i.e. Power Purchase Agreements, were seen as growing business model with customer being larger-scale companies with RE commitments. Also the length of those agreements can be over 10 year periods. The forecasted future was that 5-10 market players would dominate the market, and scale of the wind power systems could be divided into large-scale market based systems and smaller systems more dependent on the economic supports. As Finland is much dependent on the imported energy (share 23.9%) the growth potential is evident. At the same time the grid imbalances and volatility are increasing.
The support scheme preparation was considered still as uncertain and delays investment decisions. In addition, market players considered that the system might not be equal but favoring more large-scale projects. As the technological neutrality is still undefined, it remains open how the support treats different technologies and introduction of new innovations. The policy advocacy activities are part of the GREBE project, and in Finland the focus will be on informing the project stakeholders about the current transition of the national and regional energy system and related policies.
Jakokoski community established a 20 kW wind power plant in October 2016 as a LEADER co-financed project to provide power for the observatory and a community building.
Jakokoski community initiated a community wind power in their community development plan in 2009. The planning included a detailed engineering thesis work of a person living in a community. Project was identified feasible, and implemented with LEADER co-financing. The total budget for the investment project was 74 500 €’s with 50% co-financing, and a loan from the municipality.
The location of the 19 meters high power plant is optimal, as it is at the top of the hill Terttulanvaara – a popular of its observatory and public star shows.
The generator power is 20kW, estimated production (with average 5 m/s wind) is 19 625 kWh. Estonian TUGE Energia headquartered in Tallinn manufactures the wind power turbine. It manufactures and supplies small wind turbines with capacity of 10 and 20 kW. A regional power company provides additional electricity and purchases the excess power.
The technology is innovative, as the metering of the wind power and direction is based on ultrasound, and rotor turns automatically in optimal direction. Turbine can also be monitored and partly controlled online, and hydraulic lifting enables service and maintenance operations.