Largest PV Installation

Largest PV Installation in the Republic of Ireland O'Sheas_BEC

Exciting news this week in County Kilkenny, the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency (CKEA), O’Shea Farms in Piltown and Solar Electric are working on installing the largest Solar PV installation in the Republic of Ireland. O’Shea Farms have a year round electricity demand from refrigerated cold storage. They supply fresh produce to supermarkets across the country all year around. They plan to meet this base load demand with the installation of 250kWp, covering 1,569m² of roof area on and meeting 11% of the total site electricity demand. This project will set O’Shea Farms as the leaders in solar power generation in the Ireland. Jane Wickham, Paddy Phelan and Nigel Kwenda of the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency are working closely with O’Shea Farms on the project management of this installation. The Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency was successful in applying for 20% grant for the capital cost of the project through the Better Energy Communities from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

The project received a lot of interest from multinational companies when Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency put it out to tender in early August. The contract was awarded to Solar Electric Ireland Limited from Co. Wexford. O’Shea Farms are currently in the construction phase of the project. Solar Electric Ireland have already delivered an order of 160kW worth of solar panels onsite and construction is to start this Thursday 1st October. The installation and commissioning of the project is expected to be completed by the end of October 2015.

The main advantages of onsite solar power generation at O’Shea Farms are as follows;

  • Solar energy coincides with energy needs for cooling during the summer months. Therefore, a Solar PV System can provide an effective solution to supply energy during peak demands especially in hot summer months where energy demand is high.
  • Solar power generation is carbon neutral hence; it will firmly ground O’Shea Farms’ sustainable practice credentials.
  • Solar power generation does not require a primary energy source attributed with conventional power generation methods. Therefore, it reduces O’Shea Farms’ exposure to fluctuating energy prices.
  • Solar power generation requires little to no operational and maintenance costs compared to other renewable energy technologies.
  • On completion the 250kWp installation will be Ireland’s largest single Solar PV installation setting O’Shea farms as leaders in solar power generation in Ireland.


EPC Street Lighting Event – Santander, Spain

Streetligh EPC logo CKEA website Santander, Spain hosted the recent Street Lighting EPC event. “STREETLIGHT-EPC” is setting up Regional EPC Facilitation Services (helpdesks) in 9 European regions for municipalities and SMEs as potential ESCOs. The partner regions are implementing energy efficient street lighting refurbishment projects using Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). This will help create knowledge and trust in both EPC and LED technology” (FEDARENE).

Old street lighting systems can account for 30-50% of municipalities’ total electricity consumption. Yet, current technologies offer 30-70% potential energy savings. These potential savings have been recognised and incorporated into European policies: EU Regulation 245/2009 sets phasing out requirements for nearly 80% of all currently used lamp types between 2012 and 2017. This means that these lamp types will no longer be available on the market for purchase.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) offers municipalities an innovative, but still under-used, solution to finance a transition to energy efficient street lighting with energy savings guarantees. Street lighting is a good “learning and testing ground” for EPC due to its lower technical and economic complexity compared to building-related EPC. Furthermore, the recent market introduction of LED technology offers high energy and cost savings with comparatively short pay-back times.

EPC Street Lighting – Successes

Palencia/Spain – a pioneer project

  • Population: 81,000
  • Urban area with 11,000 lighting points.
  • Before renovation, mostly high-pressure sodium lamps and high pressure mercury lamps were used, frequently with low efficiency and insufficient colour rendition.
  • In the context of a streetlight-EPC project, as a first step, 3,139 luminaires were changed to LED.
  • An individual luminaire dimming control system was installed.
  • Contract duration: 12 years
  • Guaranteed energy savings: 75 %
  • Total savings: 2,000,000 Euro

Wels/Austria – comprehensive LED project

  • Population: 61,000 total street lighting system: 7,700 lights and 9,100 lamps
  • Prior to the retrofitting project, mercury vapour discharge lamps (HQL), sodium lamps, plug-in solutions and fluorescent lamps were in use, of which 4,500 were older than 15 years.
  • Between 2011 and 2014, 50 % of the lighting system was converted to LED technology.
  • A third of the street lighting is dimmed to 50 % between 21:30 and 5:30, resulting in increased saving without compromising road safety.
  • Investment by the ESCO: 1,656,000 Euro
  • Contract duration: 7 years
  • Achieved annual savings: 36 % (guaranteed)


Global Wind Day 2015 in Ireland

It’s that time again! Global Wind Day 2015 is taking place on Monday 15th June, with events taking place here in Ireland, across Europe and around the globe. Global Wind Day is coordinated by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) to raise awareness of wind energy and its potential.

Map of Ireland with participating counties

Last year was a great success with over 1,000 people, young and old visiting Irish wind farms. This year again will see wind farms across Ireland and Northern Ireland hosting an array of events to celebrate renewable wind energy.

The dates and activities vary, with some wind farms hosting public wind farm open-days and talks so that families can learn about wind energy and see turbines in operation, while others are hosting special events including community walks and runs, and some more still are inviting schools for fun, games and facts on wind.

Ballymartin Wind Farm, Co. Kilkenny.

Opening date & time: Thursday 18th June between 6pm and 8pm.
What’s happening: Opportunity for the community to visit the wind farm. Brookfield Renewables staff will be on hand to explain how the turbines work and how clean, renewable energy is generated. Children welcome.
Description: Community Open Day.
Organiser: Brookfield Renewable Ireland
Meeting place: Bus will be departing at 6.15pm from Mullinavat GAA Club Car Park and must be used for access as individual parking is unavailable.
Who’s the contact:  Please email Marie Moloney on

Call For A Clear Energy Strategy

The most recent projections from the EPA indicate that Ireland could miss emission reduction targets by as much as 11%.  However, agriculture can play a significant role in achieving further emission reductions and delivering renewable energy obligations.  This can only happen with the introduction of a clear bioenergy and renewable’s strategy from Government.

This must include improved REFIT tariffs, the development of end-use markets for renewable crops and the co-ordination of activity between state agencies to ensure renewable energy obligations are delivered, emissions are reduced and job creation is supported in rural areas.

The greenhouse gasses attributed to the agricultural sector should be more accurately reported by fully recognizing the mitigation potential of carbon sinks from forestry, bioenergy, grasslands and aquaculture.  These sinks are an important in significantly reducing emissions from the sector.

Harold Kingston

IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman



Renewables Investment Has ‘Ground To A Halt’

Investment in the renewable energy sector has ground to a complete halt because of uncertainty surrounding future supports for the sector.  Government plans to introduce a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) next year to stimulate change from fossil fuels to renewable sources, such as forestry thinnings, for commercial and industrial heat production has resulted in a major fall off in investment, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) claimed.

“Any part considering biomass as an energy source has postponed purchasing decisions until clarity is given on the RHI qualifying criteria and the tariff tiering/banding,” IrBEA claimed.

“The industry fear is that if greater clarity does not happen until sometime late this year or early 2016, then the capacity in the sector will be further depleted and the sector will struggle to respond to market demand post the introduction of the RHI,” IrBEA added.

It has called for the department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) to confirm that any eligible renewable installation, completed up to the date the RHI becomes operational, will benefit from the new support.  This so-called ‘grandfathering’ commitment would ensure that projects can start planning, negotiate with suppliers, get supply chains organized and commence construction safe in the knowledge that they will not be excluded from the scheme.


“The exact same issue arose in the UK in 2008/2009 when an RHI scheme was first mooted.  To prevent a complete market meltdown, the then UK minister for energy and climate change made an announcement in July 2009 that any biomass projects installed from the date of his announcement would retrospectively qualify for the RHI once it was introduced,” IrBEA explained.

IrBEA confirmed that it had written to Minister Alex White and his DCENR officials seeking a similar derogation to be introduced in Ireland.

The justification for an RHI is the contribution that can be made to Ireland’s 12pc heat target for renewable s by 2020.

The Government target is to replace about 200,000t of oil equivalent per year by 2020.  This would avoid oil imports of about €120m per annum.  On current uptake trends, Ireland could be hit with EU fines of up to €500m per year for missing the 2020 targets.

‘Grandfathering’ announcement urgently needed for Renewable Heat Incentive

The Government plans to introduce a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in 2016 to stimulate change from fossil fuels to renewable sources for commercial and industrial heat production. An unintended consequence of that announcement last October (in draft Bioenergy Plan) is that the market has now ground to a complete halt due to the uncertainty created.

Any party considering biomass as an energy source has postponed purchasing decisions until clarity is given on the RHI qualifying criteria and tariff tiering/banding. The industry fear is that if such clarity does not happen until sometime late this year or early 2016, then the capacity in the sector will be further depleted and the sector will struggle to respond to market demand post the introduction of the RHI.

The justification for an RHI is the contribution that can be made to Ireland’s 12% heat target for renewables and the overall 16% renewables target by 2020. The sooner momentum is achieved, the greater the contribution towards these targets. On current uptake trends, Ireland could be hit with EU fines of up to €500 million per year for missing the targets.

The solution, urgently requested by IrBEA, is an announcement by the Minister for Energy to confirm that any eligible renewable installations, completed during the period from the date of the announcement to the date that the RHI becomes operational, will benefit from the new support as if the installation had been completed on the date the relevant scheme launches – a so-called “Grandfathering” commitment. It would ensure that projects can start planning, negotiating with suppliers, getting supply chains organised and commencing construction safe in the knowledge that they will not be excluded from the scheme.

The exact same issue arose in the UK in 2008/2009 when an RHI scheme was first mooted.  To prevent a complete market meltdown, the then UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change made an announcement in July 2009 that any biomass projects installed from the date of his announcement would retrospectively qualify for the RHI once it was introduced.

IrBEA acknowledges that such a grandfathering commitment may create legitimate expectations with people who then proceed to install poor quality boilers and use undesirable fuel.  As the credible voice of the Bioenergy industry in Ireland, IrBEA is committed to the growth of a sustainable sector and not only accepts these concerns but wants to be at the forefront of putting in place safeguards for taxpayers (funders of the RHI scheme) and end consumers (purchasers of goods & services).

We have therefore written to Energy Minister Alex White and his DCENR officials that for biomass boiler projects, only projects using equipment qualifying for inclusion on the Triple-E register maintained by SEAI will be eligible for inclusion in the RHI Scheme and projects must use sustainable biomass.

Biogas Workshop: Biogas for Farming and Food producers; Thursday 21st May 2015, Springhill Court Hotel, Kilkenny

What is this about?

By anaerobically digesting food processing waste and/or animal slurries we can produce biogas, similar to natural gas that can be used for onsite energy – lowering energy costs, recycling valuable nutrients and lowering carbon emissions.  Detailed examples will be highlighted and a discussion about the main aspects of building anaerobic digestion plants will take place.  There is an entry fee of €50.

Who should attend?

Food Processors and larger farms who produce large amounts of food waste / slurry, and have large energy use on site.

CKEA Community Award Winners: Sustainable Energy Awards 2014

2014-11-13 22.55.52

The Project: Kilkenny Better Energy Communities (BEC)

In 2013 Kilkenny County Council and the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency (CKEA) applied to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for funding under the Better Energy Community grants scheme.

This was a unique collaboration between several local community groups, including a GAA Club, local hotels, community centres, social and voluntary housing demonstrating the significant energy efficiencies that can be achieved through a collective community approach.

The participants benefited from energy efficient upgrades in terms of internal lighting, insulation, energy efficient cooling systems, heating controls, renewable energy and improved energy management systems.

The great success of this project is not only proven by the 34% energy reduction achieved in the first year, but also by the impact in the day to day life of over 178 families, over 500 people and creating over 27 local trade jobs in 2013.

BEC 2013-2014-2015 Chart

Under this years BEC offering free audits and information evenings has increased the participation from the community.


The SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards:

The Sustainable Energy Awards are held annually by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. They are intended to encourage, recognise and reward excellence in energy management in the industrial, commercial, community and public sectors. The awards focus on individuals, groups and organisations who demonstrate a commitment to energy management and energy efficiency.

This year the “Kilkenny Better Energy Communities” project was shortlisted in the “Community” category. A gala award ceremony was held in the Shelbourne Hotel on the 13th of November 2014 where “Kilkenny Better Energy Communities” won the Community Award.

This prestigious Award is a great recognition and motivation to keep working with local organizations, businesses and individuals to make Kilkenny a better and more sustainable community

Paddy Phelan – Manager, Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency

Sustainable Energy Awards Winner
Sustainable Energy Awards Winner
John Mulholland, Acting Chief Executive, Kilkenny County Council receiving the “SEAI Community Award” on behalf of Kilkenny Better Energy Communities from The Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Alex While TD. Also pictured (l – r) are Dr Brian Motherway, CEO SEAI, Paddy Phelan, Manager Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency, Elizabeth Cosgrave, Energy Engineer Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency and Jim Dollard, Executive Director Electric Ireland.