Coveney launches public consultation on a proposal to ban microbeads

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney T.D., today launched a public consultation process in relation to a proposed legislative ban on certain products containing plastic microbeads. The public consultation process will last 6 weeks, closing on 24 March 2017.

Cosmetics, toothpastes and cleaning agents use plastic particles which can harm the marine environment

The Minister said ‘I am very worried about the level of plastic litter that ends up in our seas and oceans. This includes plastics microbeads found in some cosmetics, body care products, toothpastes, scouring agents and detergents and I am determined to address this issue. It is concerning to think that all plastic material which has ever ended up in the marine environment will reside there for many centuries to come, unless it is somehow removed. I regard microplastic pollution as one of most significant marine environmental challenges of the 21st century’.

While plastic microbeads represent only a fraction of the microplastics in our oceans, it has still been estimated that many billions are being washed into the world’s rivers, lakes and seas each year. Once in our seas and rivers they can last for centuries without breaking down. Due to their shape and size, they can be confused for food by fish and other aquatic creatures and they cannot be removed once they are in the marine environment.

Tiny plastic particles are sold in thousands of personal care products globally. With wastewater treatment plants not designed to filter them out due to their size, they can flow down the drain, into the sea and into the marine food chain. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove.

Microbeads are just one part of the plastic-pollution problem in our oceans, lakes and rivers

Cosmetics companies have flooded hundreds of products, mostly facial scrubs, shampoo, toothpaste, and lip gloss with microbeads: tiny balls of plastic used to exfoliate our skin. You know, those plastic sand-sized microbeads added in order to give your favorite scrub a good gritty texture. One tube of facial scrub contains more than 300,000 plastic microbeads. Banning microbeads from personal use is pretty easy to do. Just check the label on products for polyethylene or polypropylene, which are the most commonly-used plastics.

Making a personal commitment not to purchase products that contain microbeads is a start and is commendable, but it won’t take the product off the shelves for others to buy. We need comprehensive legislation to ensure that happens.

The Department is inviting any interested parties to make submissions to help inform the legislative process. To get involved, please complete the online microbead survey or email your observations or comments to msfd@housing.gov.ie.

To assist you, relevant documents may be accessed by clicking on the following links. These include a summary document outlining why the consultation is taking place, which includes a questionnaire and OSPAR’s Regional Action Plan for the Prevention and Management of Marine Litter in the North Atlantic.

Terms & Conditions:

All submissions and comments received will be subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014. Submissions are also subject to Data Protection legislation.

Submissions and comments will not be responded to on an individual basis but will be reviewed as part of the process and will feed into the deliberative process.

 

 

 

 

 

ESB to introduce a new greener ‘time of use’ tariff scheme

The ESB are expected to introduce a new ‘time of use’ tariff scheme within the next two years. Householders will be encouraged to use power at non-peak times to ease pressure on the national electricity grid.

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The utility said “It will be part of a smart metering programme and residential customers can expect to see it in 2018 or 2019.”  The idea is to encourage people to use less energy and greener energy and flex demand so as to be easiest on the system.

It is not known whether the move will mean more expensive power at certain times of the day – it may simply mean cheaper energy during the night. Company trials have found that when people knew there were cheaper tariff periods, they saved 4pc to 5pc on their bills.

Charging Point

It was also announced that ESB would finally begin requiring payment for eCar charging points around the country. Earlier this year, the utility postponed seeking €17 per month for usage of the almost 1,000 charging points nationwide. The utility are now communicating with eCar customers about the imminent introduction of charges and are currently looking at appropriate tariffs.

The utility said “Ultimately, everything has to be paid for. We need to reinvest and keep the system up to date. We will have to charge

Hydropower at Ardtornish Estate in the Scottish Highlands

Ardtornish Estate is a Highland estate in Scotland located in Morvern, Lochaber.  The present owner of the estate is passionate about conservation; and with the estate team has spent the last few years creating a hydro-power systems high in the hills to provide low-carbon, renewable energy.

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With conservation and sustainability at the heart of the estate’s objectives, three hydro power schemes are currently in place, another is under construction, and a fifth , an Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine is due to be commissioned in July 2016. A biomass woodchip boiler heats the mansion house, and green initiatives are being developed to reduce further the estate’s carbon footprint.

Hydropower at Ardtornish Estate in the Scottish Highlands

The delivery of the Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine required delivery along some single track roads through stunning mountain scenery. This installation will provide a unique visitor attraction as well as supplying power to the estate businesses and holiday cottages.

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Rated at 100kW this semi compact Archimedes Screw hydropower turbine at Ardtronish Estate will save 86 tonnes of CO2 annually. Mann Power Consulting Ltd., the UK based Archimedean Screw specialists designed the equipment for this project.  After various consultations it was decided that the most suitable turbine for the site was a semi compact Archimedes Screw Hydro turbine which was manufactured by Landustrie based in Holland.

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The Archimedes Screw hydropower turbine is a new application of an ancient technology. For thousands of years the screw was used to pump water up from rivers or streams to irrigate farm land. Now, using the same system in reverse the Archimedean Screw is being used to harness the power of the water to generate hydroelectricity. Once your turbine has been commissioned and connected to the grid you’ll be generating hydro-electric power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether the power is for your own property, to sell back to the grid or a combination of both, the Archimedean Screw will likely pay for itself several times over in the course of its operational lifetime (depending on the feed-in tariffs available) . And what’s more these turbines can be scaled to suit all needs – from small domestic applications to huge industrial installations.

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The basic requirements required for an Archimedes Screw hydro turbine are:

  • A water source with a drop of at least 1.5 metres
  • Access rights to that water source
  • A grid hook-up point less than 500 metres from the water source – unless the Screw is being used for ‘off grid’ generation only.

If your site satisfies these criteria then there’s every chance you will be able to harness the power of the waterway to generate hydroelectricity. And Eco Evolution will be delighted to pilot your scheme all the way through to delivery.

If you’re still not sure whether your site is right for an Archimedean Screw turbine, get in touch and we will be happy to discuss the specifications and requirements in greater depth.

Community Hydropower at Ludford Mill

Ludford Mill hydropower scheme is a community investment project which will supply hydropower for local households with excess power supplied to the grid. The Ludlow Hydro Co-operative made the decision to harness the river Teme for Ludlow by bringing the 17th Century listed Ludford Mill back to life by installing  a state-of-the art Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine, cunningly designed to fit in with the current buildings. Installed at a 17th Century listed mill and horseshoe weir on the Teme the semi compact Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine with a maximun power output of 29kW and an estimated annual output of 170,000kWh will save 73 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Artists impression of Ludford Mill hydropower scheme

Artists impression of Ludford Mill hydropower scheme

The Archimedean Screw is contained inside an enclosure which is built to complement the structure of the existing buildings, and the screw itself will not be visible. The enclosure will also provide sound insulation so that noise levels will be kept very low.

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The scheme was designed by Mannpower Consulting Ltd and the civil engineering work began on the hydro turbine in the second week in August 2015 and the schedule was that by the second week in October the main enclosure walls would be complete, with stop logs top and bottom, which would allow the removal of the temporary cofferdam and retreat out of the river itself.

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Over the next few months between October and January preparations were put in place to build the pump house for the electrical control gear, sluice gates, screens and walkways were installed and electrical cables and hydraulic lines were in place for the arrival of the turbine.

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Then 30kW Archimedean Screw hydropower turbine designed by Landustrie arrived on site in March and was commissioned by Mannpower and Eco Evolution in April.

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Once again we see the Ancient power of Archimedes being used for hydropower generation because if it’s fish-friendly credentials. The Archimedean Screw turbine provides a fish-friendly alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to low-head (1m-10m) sites, and sites with fish protection issues. Extensive fish passage tests have conclusively demonstrated that the large water chambers and slow rotation of the Archimedean Screw allow fish of all sizes, and debris, safe passage through the turbine. As a result, the Environment Agency has agreed that no screening is required.

If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site or are a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use please contact us here.

 

 

Global Wind Day 2016 – Ireland

Global Wind Day 2016 is being celebrated through the month of June here in Ireland. Irish wind farm events are running in partnership with events taking place, across Europe and around the globe. Global Wind Day is coordinated by Wind Europe and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) to raise awareness of the positive benefits of our clean, safe and renewable wind energy.

This year in Ireland we’re celebrating through the month of June with wind farms across Ireland hosting an array of events to celebrate wind energy with family open day visits and tours, 5k and 10k runs on wind farms, educational events, business events and more. The activity dates vary and some are hosting public wind farm open-days so that families can learn about wind energy and see the turbines in operation themselves, whilst others are inviting schools for fun, games and facts on wind.

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It is also a day for discovery of the work that has already begun by pioneers around the world. In more than 75 countries around the world, wind farms are in operation, generating energy from a clean and renewable source.

Some events need pre-registration and booking so please check out the listing below.

Come and help celebrate Irish renewable wind energy around Global Wind Day 2016, find the nearest event to you at the listing below, and keep checking in as new events are added:

Global Wind Day Events around Ireland 2016. Photo Credit: IWEA

How it all began:

The Wind Day was first held in 2007, as the European Wind Day organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The main idea was to connect a network of partners as well as using centralised communication tools, press releases and distribution of gadgets and coordinate of event organised by national wind energy associations and companies active in the wind energy field. The Wind Day in 2007 reached 18 countries, with a participation of around 35,000 people. By 2008, the event’s reach extended to 20 European countries and attracted 100,000 people.

In 2009, EWEA joined forces with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and extended the reach from European associations and companies to coordinate Wind Day events across the globe. That year, the 300 events in 35 countries across the globe reached up to 1,000,000 people.

In 2010 and 2011 between 220 and 230 events took place in around 30 countries. Since 2009, Global Wind Day has reached more than 1,000,000 people plus the thousands of people engaging and supporting the event through online means such as social media.

Last year was a great success in Ireland with over 1000 people visiting wind farms across the country. This year sees a number of wind farms across Ireland hosting an array of events to celebrate wind energy. The activity dates vary and some are hosting family days whilst others are inviting schools for fun, games and facts on wind.

Events organised around Ireland to celebrate Global Wind DayIrish Wind Energy Association (IWEA)