Better Energy Communities Pilot 2012 – Open for Applications

This is an exciting new pilot programme that SEAI is delighted to launch in order to stimulate the delivery of innovative energy efficiency projects in communities and other areas.

Energy efficiency

The Better Energy Programme is Ireland’s national upgrade programme to retrofit our building stock and facilities to high standards of energy efficiency, there by reducing fossil fuel use, running costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

The purpose of this call is to support and pilot innovative delivery approaches at a community level. With a fund of €3M, the pilot projects will test new approaches to achieving high quality and efficient delivery of improvements in energy efficiency within Irish communities.

This call, in supporting pilot projects at a community level, is specifically seeking to test innovative and pioneering partnerships for delivery between for example, the public and private sectors, domestic and non-domestic sectors, commercial and not-for-profit organisations. Other solutions to delivering energy savings within a community that leverage existing resources are also invited.

The call is open to

  • Participating Energy Suppliers
  • Public sector, including local authorities
  • Community-based organisations (CBOs) that have an established service for delivering the required measures; or other community type organisations.
  • Private sector
  • Voluntary organisations

A grant application can also be made by a nominated project co-ordinator, such co-ordination may be by an energy supply company or their designated delivery partner acting in partial fulfilment of its energy saving target.

Individual organisations and co-ordinators are permitted to submit several different applications for support but projects should be bundled where appropriate.

Eligible ptojects

The call is open to projects and related initiatives in the community spanning multiple sectors and focusing on energy efficiency in buildings, business, facilities and transport sectors, and allowing for additional installation of integrated renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.

Eligible Measures.

Eligible measures will prioritise energy efficiency retrofits and can include elements of renewable energy where appropriate. Measures proposed should demonstrate how they will deliver the Community concept in the wider community, social and policy structures.

Level of support available

A fund of €3m is available for allocation to projects on a competitive basis, for investment actions comprising individual or packaged measures, aimed at achieving on-going and lasting energy savings.

Grant support is available for qualifying projects and the level of funding will be related to the innovation in terms of delivery, technology and energy savings proposed under the project. Funding will be allocated based on an assessment of each individual project application, considered against the evaluation criteria outlined and taking account of other sources of funding leveraged.

Eligible costs

The eligible costs are the direct costs incurred in the delivery of the project.

  • Purchase of plant, machinery or equipment in the product/ technology categories listed on the ‘Triple E’ register
  • VAT associated if it is not reclaimable

Non Eligible Costs

  •  Any costs not directly related to improving sustainable energy performance through the proposed project
  • Ongoing monitoring costs
  • Internal staff costs
  • Any costs to bring process or facilities up to standards required
  • Any costs that are incurred prior to formal grant approval – no matter what they relate to – are ineligible and will not be paid.

 

For further information see the following links:

Better Energy Communities – 2012 Application Guide.pdf (size 280 KB)

Better Energy Communities Pilot Application Form.pdf (size 166.4 KB)

Or alternatively if you have a project in mind which you think might be suitable please contact Paula Butler who is the  main contact person in SEAI and can be contacted at paula.butler@seai.ie or 01 8082094.

Closing date for applications is 14th September 2012.

Germany Sets a New Solar Power Record – 14.7 Terawatt-Hours in 6 months

Germany has set yet another impressive record for solar power consumption! As solar power usage in Germany has  increased by 50% since last year, the country’s solar resources have pulled in a  phenomenal 14.7 terawatt-hours in the first six months of 2012 alone, which  amounts to 4.5 % of Germany’s power needs.

Solarpv panels on German homes

In 2011, Germany’s photovoltaic power reached just 19 Twh for the entire year,  5 Twh shy of productions during the first six months of 2012. The ambitious  spike in solar power consumption is thanks to a boom in solar systems being  installed across the country, with more being constructed each day.

Residential Solarpv installation

In just four months, the Germans have installed an additional 73,756 solar power  systems across the German countryside, with more sprouting up each week.  Combined, the new systems have an output of 2,328 megawatts. German homes and businesses already are responsible for 1.2 million  working photovoltaic plants, which have been installed over the past few years  with no incentives other than clean energy.

Solarpv array

In 2012, Germany will have reached a total of 28 GW of solar power capacity, which far exceeds other countries of  its size. With Germany’s lead, solar energy will reign in as the third largest  source of renewable energy, and possibly push past wind power and biogas should  other countries take lead and follow suit.

 Source: Clean Technica

 

Germany sets new solar power world record

German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs.

“Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity,” Allnoch told Reuters. “Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over.”

The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world’s leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed.

Solar Power Generation Germany May 26 2012

Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20 percent of its overall annual electricity from those sources.

Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone. It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Source: Reuters

Read full story here.

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