Update! The department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources have extended the public consultation until 18 September 2015.
Two public consultation documents, published by Minister for Energy Alex White on Friday 31st July 2015 seek views on the renewable energy technologies that currently receive financial support from the State, and whether the Government should broaden the range of technologies it supports. One consultation focuses on renewable electricity technologies, while the other focusses on renewable heat systems.
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The consultation on renewable electricity supports says that, while wind energy will continue to make an important contribution to meeting Ireland’s renewable energy targets, it should be complemented by other technologies to meet the country’s renewable energy ambitions. It says these could include bioenergy, solar, offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies if they are both technically feasible and cost effective, and says the consultation will help determine whether supports are necessary to develop these technologies.
The consultation will also explore the potential and value of providing supports to micro-generation and smaller community-based projects.
The Renewable Heat Incentive consultation document proposes a renewable heat incentive (RHI) to encourage larger industrial and commercial heat users to switch to systems that produce heat from renewable sources, including biomass. It will inform an assessment of the feasibility of various technologies deployed to produce heat from renewables and tariffs “at a level that represents the most cost effective transition to the levels of renewable heat required.”
The consultations will help determine the criteria for financial support schemes to replace existing programmes, including the REFIT schemes, which expire at the end of this year. They both emphasise the importance of citizen and stakeholder engagement in the development of renewable energy policy and infrastructure.
Renewable Energy Support Scheme – Public Consultation 2015
Minister White said: “Encouraging the use of renewable electricity and heat sources will help us meet ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and tackle global warming. The energy White Paper, which I will publish in October, will set us on a path to transform Ireland’s energy production and consumption patterns so that, by 2050, our system will be largely decarbonised. One objective is to develop and broaden the range of renewable energy technologies at our disposal, which will also drive innovation and create green jobs.
“Our energy transition must respect citizens, who recognise the need to stop global warming, but who may also be concerned about the impact of energy technology and infrastructure on their communities. These consultations give everyone the opportunity to express their views on the renewable electricity and heat technologies that Government could support, before any decisions are made.”
The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources, as well as 12% of heat demand and 10% of transport fuel. Last October, the European Council reached political agreement on a target of a 40% reduction in European greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The agreement committed the EU as a whole to increase the proportion of energy it gets from renewable sources to 27%.
The consultation will remain open until 17:30 Friday 11th September.
Submissions may be made in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively submissions may be made in writing to:
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,
Minister for Energy, Alex White T.D., today announced a boost in the level of grants available to householders who want to undertake energy efficiency improvements. The cash value of every grant available to householders under the Better Energy Homes Scheme has been increased by between 25-50%. In addition, a bonus payment has been introduced which will see householders receive bonus payments if they complete three or more energy efficiency improvements.
The new grant levels are effective immediately and will apply to everyone who has applied for a grant that has not yet been paid. The previous minimum grant threshold of €400 has been abolished and a bonus payment of €300 for householders who undertake three efficiency measures has been introduced, with an additional bonus payment of €100 available to householders who undertake four measures. The bonus payments are available to new applicants and to householders who have already availed of the scheme who wish to undertake further upgrades.
The changes in grant levels, effective from today
The Better Energy Homes Scheme provides grants to homeowners to undertake energy efficiency measures such as insulating walls or attics and installing new heating systems. Since the scheme was launched in 2009 more than 165,000 homes have undertaken energy efficiency upgrades with a total Government investment of €172m.
Under the revised scheme, a family in a semi-detached house could benefit from a grant payment of up to €4700 for external wall insulation, a boiler and heating control upgrade, and cavity and attic insulation. A couple in an apartment could receive €3400 towards internal wall insulation, a boiler and heating control upgrade and the installation of solar thermal heating.
Improve the Energy Efficiency of your home with Cavity Wall and Attic Insulation
The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme (BEWH), administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, funds energy efficiency improvements in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable, making the homes more comfortable, healthier and more cost effective to run. The Better Energy Warmer Homes services are provided by a panel of SEAI appointed non-profit community based organisations (CBO’s) and a panel of SEAI appointed private contractors. The Installers are assigned to a household depending on their geographic location. CBO’s and contractors deliver the BEWH to the highest quality assurance standards. Inspections are carried out on a sample of homes completed to ensure the standards are maintained.
The scheme is available to non-Local Authority owner occupied homes constructed before 2006. The owner of the property has also to be in receipt of one of the following:
Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme
Job Seekers allowance for over six months and with children under 7 years of age
Family income support
The service involves the installation of standard energy efficiency measures appropriate to the eligible household subject to SEAI survey, budget allocation and available capacity. The service is provided at no cost to the household and the measures currently available under this scheme are:
Low energy light bulbs.
Cavity wall insulation.
Landlords can avail of grants from Better Energy Homes if they have tenants in, or at risk of, energy poverty.
The Better Energy Homes scheme provides assistance to homeowners to reduce energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions and improve the comfort levels within their home. It is a national scheme therefore all homeowners of dwelling built before 2006 may apply. Landlords and owners of multiple properties may also apply, however they must submit a separate application form for each property. Grants are available for eligible applicants for under taking energy efficient upgrades.
The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has called on the Government to introduce new schemes that would further encourage and incentivise the development of wind microgeneration in Ireland for farms, businesses and homes which the Association maintains could have significant benefits to farmers and rural communities.
Microgeneration is the production of energy on a small scale for farms, businesses or domestic homes. Typical microgeneration technologies include Wind Turbines, Solar Photovoltaic, Hydro Power and Combined Heat & Power (CHP) with equipment ratings below 11kW.
Caitriona Diviney, Chief Operations Officer of IWEA says that electricity costs rank among the main overheads for Irish farms, businesses and homes and that more wind microgeneration could help reduce costs, whilst allowing installers of microgeneration technologies to earn additional income by contributing the surplus electricity to the national grid.
She said “When compared to neighbouring countries such as the UK, the significant potential for wind microgeneration in Ireland still remains relatively untapped. Locally generated electricity can be yet another guaranteed Irish farm product, and can give farmers more control over their own electricity production.”
“We believe greater wind microgeneration can lead to more sustainable livelihoods and form part of the solution to reduce the overall carbon emissions of the industry.”
To encourage the development of wind microgeneration new schemes could be put in place to give farmers, small businesses and residential homes greater opportunity to invest in microgeneration.
“Some farmers and homeowners are already successfully availing of microgeneration and it is recognised as a long term investment however under current circumstances economic payback for a micro-scale wind turbine may not be achieved for more than ten years. In our pre-budget submission to the Government we have therefore, called for new schemes, akin to those in other countries, that could reduce the payback period, making this a much more attractive option for farmers but also for suitable small businesses and some residential homes.” The Irish Wind Energy Association has launched a step-by-step guide aimed at helping farmers consider the options in availing of new microgeneration technology and is available for download on their website.
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Over 1200 submissions were received on the future of Ireland’s energy policy according to Minister for Energy Alex White.
He welcomed the large number of submissions and said the Paper had stirred an enthusiastic debate on Energy policy in Ireland across a diverse range of stakeholders.
The Green Paper called for guidance on the route forward. Over 1200 submissions were received by yesterday’s closing date, demonstrating the strong interest in choosing the best route forward. Minister White said “I am very grateful to all of the stakeholders interested in energy for taking the time to respond to the Green Paper. My Department will be considering each of the valuable contributions. Specifically, my officials will, over the coming months, be focussing on identifying and analysing the key issues raised across all the submissions”.
Following on from the written submissions, further engagement with stakeholders will commence in the Autumn to ensure that all of the issues identified in the submissions are fully understood. It will be critically important to ensure that the assumptions on which the White Paper will be written are tested and accurate.
Photo Credit: www.renewableenergy.org.vn
Commenting on the forthcoming engagement phase, Minister White said “There is an absolute necessity for the White Paper to be fit for present and future purposes and to set a balanced, robust and enabling framework. I want a dynamic and responsive evidence based framework that will allow all of us to steer the appropriate course as we seek to deal with sustainability, security, and competitiveness challenges and opportunities.”
“Developing the policy will not be easy as we aim to strike the right balance between the interests of all energy stakeholders, especially families and businesses as our social and economic recoveries take root. We will continue to encounter uncertainty at home, within the EU and further afield which will directly impact on our ability to achieve our Energy policy goals. But we can be clear on the goals we wish to set and the course we wish to take. The White Paper will provide the certainty and clarity required for a new Energy for Ireland.”
The Green Paper was published by the Minister’s predecessor, Mr. Pat Rabbitte T.D., in May, and the consultation period closed on 31 July, after a period of 12 weeks.
On Saturday November 30th NUI Kilkenny Campus held its annual Presentation of Certificate ceremony. Professor Rowena Peccehnino, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science at NUI Maynooth, and Head of the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting presented the Certificates with the help of Dr. Willie Smyth and Maeve O’Byrne, Acting Head of Campus.
Certificates were awarded to over 70 students on the day. As tutor of the NUI Certificate in Renewable Energy, Technologies and Systems course it was a privilege to be invited along to be part of the celebrations and see the students receive their certificates.
The course provided the students with a broad overview of micro and small scale renewable energy technologies and systems. These included wind turbines, hydro turbines, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass. It introduced the science behind the technologies, and the applications of this science including opportunities for small business development and/or further education. The programme was designed and delivered by Frank and the Dept. of Electronic Engineering, NUI Maynooth and was ran at Kilkenny Campus. It used an innovative mix of online learning and face to face contact.
Module 1: Renewable Energy Technology An overview of Renewable Energy in the national and international context (energy usage, resources grid etc); and Renewable Energy Technologies including wind, hydro, solar PV and heating, heating pumps, and ocean energy.
Module 2: Renewable Energy Design Case Study
This module involved each student picking a technology area from the following list: wind energy (micro or commercial); small hydro, solar PV, solar thermal, heat pumps. Each student completed a project including resource quantification, design and specification of a renewable energy installation, a calculation of the likely energy output and an approximate economic analysis of the project.
Module 3: Renewable Energy Industry Seminar Series
This module was delivered through e-learning (Moodle) and allowed participants access to the wealth of commercial expertise in design, installation, management, financing and operation of renewable energy installations in Ireland. The objective was to tap into the expertise and to the issues associated with real world implementation of renewable energy technology.
We wish the lads the best of luck and best wishes for a bright and green future from all of us at Eco Evolution!
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