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.

pylons

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

National Tree Week 1 – 8 March 2015 ~ ‘ Do you love Trees?’

The theme for National Tree Week 2015 is ‘Do you love trees?’

The launch of National Tree Week being sponsored by ESB takes place in Castletown House in Co Kildare on 1st March where the Tree Council will be giving away over 2,000 trees and 15,000 during the week thanks to Coillte.  National Tree Week is an annual week long fun festival about trees organised by The Tree Council of Ireland.  In celebration of National Tree Week individuals, families, schools and local communities are encouraged to participate in and support events taking place around the country during the week.

National Tree Week 2015 - Do you love trees?

By doing something as simple as planting a tree, everyone can play their part in making a difference to our efforts to live more sustainably, bringing about huge  benefits, many of which will have long term impact in times of climate uncertainty.

Despite great advances in the past 100 years, Ireland remains one of the least wooded countries in Europe with only 11% of our land planted with trees compared to the European average of 40%.  Ireland has agreed a target to increase our forest cover to 17% by 2035.  This initiative will provide new jobs, build our forestry industry and help improve our environment.

On a global level, trees play a significant role in mitigating against climate change by soaking up carbon emissions and in the sustainable wood resource they provide.  Trees also improve air quality, providing us with clean air to breathe, and reduce the effects of flash flooding and soil erosion.  They give shade to make streets and buildings cooler in summer and improve the energy efficiency of buildings by providing shelter and reducing heat loss.  Without trees, life on earth would be intolerable.

National Tree Week 2015 - Do you love trees?

Get involved!

It’s easy to get involved as an individual or as a group.  The Tree Council of Ireland invites you to organise one or more events for the week to celebrate trees. As well as tree planting ceremonies, the range of events can include forest and woodland walks, nature trails, workshops, woodturning displays, talks, tree hugging, tree climbing etc. –  the choice is yours!

National Tree Week 2015 - Do you love trees?

Ferns Tidy Towns Group planting a copse of trees

What can you do to celebrate National Tree Week?

  • Check out the National Tree Week events programme and take part in an event near you.
  • Celebrate National Tree Week in your school by planting a tree or in the classroom by drawing pictures or making leaf prints or bark rubbings of trees, read or write poems or stories about trees, learn how to measure the height and spread of a tree, produce a class drama about trees.
  • Encourage your local residents association, tidy towns group, youth club, sports club or other local organisation to get their members involved in a tree planting or tree maintenance project (eg. clean-up a local woodland) in your area.
  • Volunteer in a local community tree-planting event. You’ll meet new people and make a difference in your community.
  • Organise a walk or trail to showcase and tell the stores of any large, unusual or historic trees in your community.
  • Commemorate an event of significance in your community by planting a tree and organise a community celebration or get together to mark the occasion.
  • Celebrate the week in a personal way by planting a tree yourself in your own garden.
  • Take some time to read a book about trees or find our more about their characteristics, their uses, folklore etc. Learn to identify trees in your neighbourhood.
  • Enjoy the outdoors. Visit a local forest or park or take a nature walk and enjoy observing and being in the company of trees.
  • Those in the business community could sponsor a community tree project.
National Tree Week 2015 - Do you love trees?

Woodland area of native trees at Scoil Naomh Maodhóg, Ferns

Even the smallest garden can accommodate a tree!

Just because your garden is small, don’t think that you can’t have trees. One of the advantages of planting trees is that there is a species to fit every location, regardless of size. Many people with small gardens only have space for one tree so choosing the right one is important. When planting in small enclosed spaces, it is advisable to plant trees that have a small crown spread. Eventual height is an important factor too. Even small ornamental trees may, over time, reach a height of 6-7m or more. If you only have room for one tree ideally look for one with more than one feature or season of interest such as coloured bark or fruit or autumn colour following on from flowers.

Some Native Tree Species to consider for Small Gardens.

Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) – Slow growing evergreen with shredding brown bark and dark green, leathery leaves. Clusters of pinkish white, pitcher-shaped flowers and red strawberry-like fruits are borne together in late autumn and winter. Height 5m.

Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) – Although inconspicuous for much of the year, this small tree is very showy in autumn and early winter when the leaves turn blazing scarlet and masses of rose-red capsules split open to reveal orange seeds. Height 4m.

Silver Birch (Betula pendula) – Distinctive silvery-white, peeling bark that becomes marked with black, rugged cracks as it gets older. In spring, yellow-brown male catkins appear and in late autumn the diamond-shaped, bright green foliage turns yellow before falling. Height 12m. Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ is a weeping form that develops a mushroom-headed habit with branches reaching to the ground.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) – Choose the fastigiate form. Leaves turn deep, fiery red and yellow in autumn. Sprays of white flowers cover the tree in late spring, followed by bunches of red berries in autumn. Height 8m.

Yew (Taxas baccata) – Choose the columnar or fastigiate form. Slow growing coniferous tree forming a dense, compact column. Height 3m.

 

Recycling saves trees!

School Recycling Saves Trees Trees are essential to our world and offer a wide range of benefits to our environment so for the week that’s in it we should also remember that recycling saves trees! Each ton of recycled paper    can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.

 

Wexford County Council National Tree Week Primary School Competition:

Wexford County Council have organised a competition for all primary schools in Co. Wexford to celebrate National Tree Week 2015 . The winning entry will win €200 worth of trees for their school and €100 for their own garden.

All you have to do is write a description of your favorite tree or planted area of trees in your garden, school or local area. Entries must not exceed 1 A4 page and it can include drawings or a photo of the tree if you like.  Don’t forget to write on the back your name, school and contact details.

Send your entry to Cliona Connolly, Environment Section, County Hall, Carricklawn, Wexford.

Closing date for receipt of all entries is Friday 13th March 2015.

What will you do to celebrate National Tree Week? Maybe you will attend one of the many events organised by the Tree Council of Ireland , help your local community group to plant some trees, plant a tree in your own garden or just go for a walk in the local woodland and admire the beauty of the many species of trees around you. Whatever you decide trees are essential and are a huge benefit to our environment.

 

Micro-generation export and Refit tariff updates

Micro-generation covers small scale generators where customers can generate their own electricity and export the surplus back to the grid. Microgeneration technologies include small scale wind turbines, hydro turbines and solar photovoltaic systems.

Evance R9000 5kW Wind Turbine

Electric Ireland have extended their micro-generation payment of (9 cent / kWh) by a further year to 31st December 2012. This will be the second successive year that the expiry date has been extended and it reinforces Electric Ireland’s commitment to its support of customers who install a domestic micro-generator.

ESB Networks continue to offer a support package up until 29th February 2012, comprising of a free installation of import / export meter and payment of a support payment of (10 cent / kWh) which applies to the first 3,000kWh exported annually. This payment will last for a period of 5 years and will end on the 5th anniversary of the contract start date.

The ESBN micro-generation payment (10 cent / kWh) and the free installation of import/export meters will not be extended beyond 29th February 2012.  Import/export meters will now be charged at approx €350.00.

Solar pv slates

Budget 2012 and VAT refund for Farmers

The 2012 Budget included an extension of the existing VAT Refund Order for flat-rate farmers to include a refund on the purchase of wind turbines.

The existing VAT refund order, which provides for the refund of VAT paid by un-registered farmers on the construction of farm buildings, fencing, drainage and reclamation of farm land, has been amended to provide that such farmers may claim a refund on wind turbines supplied and installed after  1st January 2012.

Archimedean Screw Hydro Turbine ~ Shane’s Castle

REFIT – Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff

REFIT stands for ‘Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff’ and is the primary means through which electricity from renewable sources is supported in Ireland.

The REFIT II scheme (onshore wind, small hydro and landfill gas) is open as and from 23rd March 2012 and the REFIT III (biomass technologies) scheme opened in February  2012. Both schemes are for projects built and operational between 1/1/10 and  31/12/15.

 

Terms and conditions for REFIT II (Onshore wind, hydro and biomass landfill gas) can be found here

The REFIT II scheme is intended to cover small and large scale onshore wind, biomass landfill gas and small hydro (?5MW.) To be eligible for REFIT II, the various requirements that will be set out in the terms and conditions must be fulfilled including proof of planning permission and grid connection -plants must be new plants neither built nor under construction on 1/1/2010.

 

Terms and conditions for  REFIT III (Biomass Technologies) can be found here

REFIT III is a scheme to cover 310MW of certain biomass related REFIT categories as follows:

> 50MW of AD sub technologies (AD CHP ?500 kW ; AD CHP >500 kW; AD (non CHP) ?500kW ; AD (non CHP) >500kW);

> 100MW of Biomass CHP (non AD) sub technologies (biomass CHP ?1500kW; Biomass CHP >1500kW);

> 160MW of biomass combustion and co-firing.

NOTE:

The REFIT II and REFIT III competitions are separate schemes with separate terms and conditons in respect of each scheme.

New clarifications may issue in due course on the new Terms and Conditions, if deemed necessary.

 

Nissan have turned over a New LEAF!

We were invited to come along to the Nissan LEAF Roadshow in Kilkenny to test drive the world’s first affordable, mass produced electric car, the Nissan LEAF. This was one of only two in Europe and was a left hand drive version.

The Nissan Leaf

They were very sceptical, another electric bubble car, how would this one differ? Arriving at the Roadshow they were very surprised to see that the Nissan LEAF looked like a normal 5-seater family car, but this was no normal car. It is a car that runs on 100% electricity, a car with no fuel tank, no mechanically propelled engine and no exhaust pipe and is therefore a zero emissions car. Mechanics may not be over the moon about its arrival as it is the dawn of a new breed of vehicle that does not have the associated high service and maintenance costs that we have come to accept. In fact the average annual running costs for the Nissan LEAF, based on 12,000 miles or 19,200 kms, are expected to be in or around €232, or less than €20 per month. With the LEAF the standard service intervals of a normal car are a thing of the past with replacement tyres now probably being the biggest maintenance cost.

The Nissan Leaf

This is a sleek looking mid-size family car with a very eye catching appearance and a surprisingly spacious interior; four adult males were easily and comfortably accommodated. No key in the ignition, no clutch and no gear stick, just a press of a button and the car is started, but shut your eyes and you wouldn’t realise as the only indications are visual ones. The Nissan LEAF has the performance of a 1.6 litre petrol engine and is very quick and smooth in acceleration, it drives like an automatic but much more responsive and without the associated gear change shunts and roaring engine. Power is delivered via an 80kW a.c. motor that develops enough torque to reach a maximum speed of over 140 km/h. Acceleration from a standstill is very impressive indeed and the LEAF floats on seemingly effortlessly and silently. The LEAF is so silent that below 30km/h it emits an audible beep to alert unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists of its presence.

Charging socket under the Nissan badge just in front of the bonnet.

The electric motor is powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries that are mounted under the seats and floor of the LEAF thus giving a low centre of gravity and balanced weight distribution resulting in excellent handling and ride comfort. The latest generation lithium-ion batteries used in the LEAF are manufactured by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture company between Nissan and the Japanese electronics company NEC. These batteries are more efficient, more powerful and faster to recharge than anything gone before. The batteries can be recharged to 80% battery capacity in about 25 minutes from a fast charging point but the more normal method is a slower overnight charge. A full charge delivers a capacity of about 160kms but is very dependent on driving habits. The charging socket is under the Nissan badge just in front of the bonnet. ESB will install home charging points free of charge to the first 2,000 electric vehicle customers.

Underneath the Bonnet

Underneath the Bonnet

Under the bonnet Nissan have provided a mock engine but this space could have been put to better use. There is a standard 12V DC battery also to cater for starting and instrumentation on the dash, there is a small solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on top of the boot door that provides some level of recharge to the 12V battery. The boot is just adequate, certainly wont be carrying your full set of golf clubs in there. For a car with the latest generation lithium-ion batteries whose thinner structure and distribution around the vehicle allows for more room inside the vehicle itself, it is a pity that the lack of a conventional engine does not mean pucks of cargo space as well. But this is the only real negative in what is otherwise a breath of fresh air to the automotive industry and a real credit to Nissan.

Small solar photovoltaic (PV) panel located on the boot

Nissan Leaf Boot Space

The Nissan LEAF that will be available in Ireland will come fully equipped with features such as 16” Alloy Wheels, fully automatic Climate Control, Satellite Navigation that doubles up as a screen for the Rear Parking Camera, Cruise Control and a quick charge socket. Safety equipment such as Driver, Passenger, Side and Curtain airbags will be standard along with Electronic Stability Control. Equipment will also include the very distinctive LED headlamps which is a first for Nissan.

According to Nissan innovative smart phone connectivity will allow an owner to control many elements of the LEAF’s functions remotely, including telling the car when to re-charge, to heat or cool the interior of the car before starting a journey and many more innovative features. The Satellite Navigation on the LEAF can connect directly to a Global Data Centre via the Telematics System giving owners updates on charging points, driving patterns and so on.

Charging Point

Road tax is €104 per year but should these state of the art zero-emissions vehicles be exempt from road tax?

Nissan have certainly set the bar extremely high indeed and for this they must be applauded. The LEAF is certainly suited to city driving and low mileage driving but as technological advances extends the range of these vehicles they will become the vehicle of choice for all types of customers.

Test drive the Nissan Leaf at a branch near you!

Thanks to Liam Martin, Wexford Car Centre for the invitation to test drive this great piece of technology. It was a truly unexpected surprise. Test drive the LEAF at a branch near you!

All photographs copyright of Eco Evolution

Wind Power To Reduce Energy Bills And Carbon Footprint ~ The Evance R9000

Evance R9000 5kW Wind Turbine

Evance R9000 5kW Wind Turbine

Renewable energy is key to our low-carbon energy future, as well as diversifying energy sources. Today wind power continues to gain ground as a profitable and effective energy source.

Evance Wind Turbines have been manufacturing and supplying small wind turbines for over 10 years. The R9000 5kW wind turbine has been engineered to ensure maximum energy yield by generating energy at low wind speeds, and by running continuously and safely at high wind speeds – the most efficient 5KW turbine available.

Using the latest advances in aerodynamics and electronics, their engineers set out to bring you one of the most advanced small wind turbines on the market with unsurpassed efficiency, reliability and safety.

Testing and qualifying the product in the most extreme of conditions meant that the Evance R9000 was the first wind turbine under 10kW to be fully certified under the UK Government Industry Standard, Microgeneration Certification Scheme.  This accreditation is a formal recognition of the durability, reliability, safety and overall performance of the R9000, which provides customers with confidence in the turbine.

Evance R9000 installed in Dublin

The Evance R9000 Advanced Wind Turbine is the result of 10 years of dedicated research and development, and is based on the experience of designing utility scale turbines. Specifically designed to work with the wind to capture more energy at lower wind speeds, the R9000 is the most efficient 5kW turbine available, producing more energy a year than other 5kW, 6kW and even 10kW turbines. Combining patented state of the art technology and elegant design, the R9000 belongs to the ‘next generation’ of small wind turbines, offering class leading quality, performance and reliability.

The R9000 starts generating energy at low wind speeds and is designed to run continuously at high wind speeds, so providing the maximum yield possible – giving you energy generation when the wind is blowing it’s strongest.

At low to moderate wind speeds the patented pitch system, Reactive Pitch™, holds the blades in the optimum position for capturing maximum energy from the wind. At high wind speeds the R9000’s Reactive Pitch™ mechanism automatically pitches the blades so it can regulate energy capture and blade speed. It therefore continues to capture energy – up to the full 5kW power rating.

The R9000 is manufactured in the UK at new purpose-built facilities near Loughborough. Using automotive experience, each one is assembled under strict quality control. Every R9000 undergoes final testing to ensure that it complies with Evance exacting standards.

The R9000 wind turbine delivers class leading energy yields allowing households and businesses to reduce electricity bills substantially, and in some cases generate an income.

By capturing power at low and high wind speeds the R9000 can generate 9,167kW with Annual Mean Wind Speed (AMWS) of 5m/s  (11.2mph).

Average Power vs Wind Speed

Annual Energy Yield vs Annual Mean Wind Speed

Export Tariff Update:

Electric Ireland have extended their micro-generation payment of (9 cent / kWh) by a further year to 31st December 2012. This will be the second successive year that the expiry date has been extended and it reinforces Electric Ireland’s commitment to its support of customers who install a domestic micro-generator.

ESB Networks continue to offer a support package up until 29th February 2012, comprising of a free installation of import / export meter and payment of a support payment of (10 cent / kWh) which applies to the first 3,000kWh exported annually. This payment will last for a period of 5 years and will end on the 5th anniversary of the contract start date.

The ESBN micro-generation payment (10 cent / kWh) and the free installation of import/export meters will not be extended beyond 29th February 2012.  Import/export meters will now be charged at approx €350.00.

The average electricity consumption in Ireland is 5,000kWh per household per year. The R9000 can generate 13,653kWh, based on an annual mean wind speed of 6m/s, more than enough electricity to run two households.  There are also planning exemptions for small-scale wind turbines in Ireland.

Evance R9000

The R9000 requires minimal maintenance

Both the wind turbine and the tower are designed to provide outstanding durability – a minimum design life of 20 years. With few mechanical parts, in particular no gearbox, the R9000’s maintenance is minimal.

The Evance 5kW Wind Turbine installed on a farm in Boolavogue, Co. Wexford: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH5hfrw1lbI

For further information read the Evance R9000 brochure.

Click here  for more information on Micro-generation export and refit tariff updates.