Communities putting shoulder to wheel with renewable energy projects

More communities than ever before are coming together to develop renewable energy projects in their own localities, according to a Kilkenny-based energy engineer.

Gráinne Kennedy of independent energy agency 3cea (3 Counties Energy Agency) said that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has experienced one of its busiest years on record in terms of the growing number of community groups that they are working with to reduce their energy costs and cut down on harmful carbon emissions:

“What we have particularly noticed in recent years is a dramatic increase in community groups and organisations who are actively seeking information on how to undertake energy efficiency retrofits – be they community centres, sports clubs, parish committees, childcare centres, community health organisations such as organisations that provide accommodation and supports to the elderly, national schools …. the list is growing by the week.

“It’s a win-win situation for these groups and organisations. Through the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community programme that 3cea delivers, they’re supported with capital funding, partnerships and technical support on energy saving projects. And now with the introduction of the government’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme, communities can set up their own solar farm or wind farm and sell that power to the national grid. Given that so many communities are taking an interest in their carbon footprint, the demand for information about community renewable energy projects has never been greater.”

To meet this demand, 3cea with the support of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership has organised a two-part online webinar aimed specifically at community groups in Kilkenny who are interested in developing a renewable energy project. The event takes place at 9.30am and 10.45am on Tuesday, 22nd June through Zoom and community groups and representatives can register for this FREE online webinar at http://bit.ly/KilkennyGridStudy.

The first session, hosted by Rory Mullan of electrical engineering consultancy Mullan Grid Consulting, will discuss the findings of a recent grid study carried out in the Kilkenny area. All energy produced by a renewable energy project must be transported via the grid to homes and businesses across the country. For a community renewable energy project to be feasible there must be capacity available in the grid to take the energy produced. This session will help attendees to identify if there is an opportunity to connect to the grid in their area. They can also see where the ideal location for a renewable energy project would be.

Part two of the webinar will be presented by Tom Bruton, of BioXl, an energy consultancy with expertise in renewable energy. It will look at the key steps and considerations a community must take in the development of a renewable energy project, such as securing land rights, constraint mapping, planning assessments and submission, grid application submission, payment milestones, qualifying and tendering for auction, preparing legal structures and community investment proposals.

* For any queries on this event, please contact Mari or Patrick on events@3cea.ie

For more information on 3cea’s range of community programmes, visit our Community page here.

Climate Action in the South East

Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford Communities Pioneer Climate Action in the South East

3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) welcomes Government’s announcement on Tuesday, 23rd March to approve a revised Climate Action Bill which includes specific targets on reducing carbon emissions over the next 30 years. The Climate Action Bill commits to a carbon neutral status for Ireland by end 2050 and halving the amount of greenhouse gas emissions within the next 10 years.

3cea sees the announcement as an opportunity to build on progress it has made in the region since it was established in 2002. The one-stop-shop is committed to driving social and behavioural change in the South East towards a low carbon economy. The non-profit agency drives sustainable energy projects offering commercial and business grants and supports, the Greener HGV Programme, National Home Retrofit Scheme, community and public sector projects working across homes, commercial properties, community, transport and agriculture and advice in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford.

Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) says it is the responsibility of each individual, business owner and community to come together to achieve Government’s ambitious targets and 3cea will be there to help. He explains,

“Whilst the Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford local authorities will be closely examining its strategic plan to facilitate and steer climate action in the area, everyone in the county has a role to play in achieving the ambition of the new Bill. In the south east region, we are in excellent position to develop an all-inclusive decarbonising plan in line with the requirements set out in the Climate Action Bill. There are some outstanding examples within local communities and industry, for example the Danone Plant locally has achieved zero carbon emission in its manufacturing. Likewise the local community groups taking energy action illustrate how each home, local business and individual can help contribute towards a carbon neutral Ireland. Small changes in our individual behaviour can change our carbon footprint and it all adds up.”

Read more

ISO 50001

ISO 50001 Certification for Wexford County Council

Supported by 3 Counties Energy Agency, Wexford County Council has achieved the globally recognised international energy management standard, ISO 50001, becoming more advanced in optimising their energy efficiency.

The ISO 50001 standard was developed to support public and private sector organisations committed to efficient energy management providing the most robust framework for achieving cost and carbon emission reductions. It demonstrates that Wexford is taking a systematic and logical approach in its responsibility to continually improvement energy management as part of Climate Action goals and commitments.

Commenting on the council’s energy management and ISO50001 certification,Councillor Ger Carthy, Cathaoirleach, Wexford County Council said ‘We are very proud to achieve this standard. In achieving this international accreditation energy performance improvement is on the top of the agenda for the organisation and I commend all involved for the great work done to date. Wexford County Council has committed to effective energy management and will meet 2020 public sector energy efficiency targets and has improved performance by 29% in 2019 when compared to the 2009 baseline period. The ISO50001 certification will be the basis of formulating a pathway to reach energy efficiency and carbon target for 2030 and beyond’.

Tom Enright, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council said ‘achieving this standard is a significant accomplishment given the diversity of services that local authorities offer. We are focused and fully committed to continuously improving energy performance in all our operations. This year will see the completion of an extensive public lighting upgrade resulting in significant energy and operational costs savings. Upon completion approximately 97% of the public lights within the county will have been converted to high efficiency LED technology.’

Read more

carlow Kilkenny Wexford energy performance

Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford on Track to Achieve 33% Energy Reduction Target by 2020

  • Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils are 30.8% more energy efficient than in 2009
  • The three counties avoided 22,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the decade 2009-2019

The recently published Annual Report on Public Sector Energy Efficiency Performance covering 2019 shows that the public sector was 29% more energy efficient and on course to achieve its 33% energy efficiency target in 2020, up from 27% the previous year. This is the third year of improved performance in a row, following the introduction of the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy in 2017. The 2019 Climate Action Plan has increased the level of ambition for the public sector for the period up to 2030 by establishing two new complementary targets, a 50% improvement in energy efficiency and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils have committed to effective energy management to making energy savings and playing their part in meeting the public sector energy efficiency targets by 2030. Local Authorities in Ireland Account for 11% of the total public sector energy consumption. Read more

STEPS e-storage solutions

Press Release: Accelerating innovative e-storage solutions with the STEPS Business Support Programme

Press Release for immediate release: 05/01/2021

Accelerating innovative e-storage solutions with the STEPS Business Support Programme

Kilkenny, IE (5th January 2021) A new business support programme for energy storage companies within North-West Europe launches this month. The Storage of Energy and Power Systems (STEPS) Business Support Programme will support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in bringing their energy storage solutions to the market. As part of the Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) programme, the STEPS project aims to strengthen the collaboration and competitiveness of businesses in the region and lead NWE to the forefront of energy storage innovation.

 

Applications for SMEs to receive knowledge and business support will open on 11th January 2021. Further details here.

 

The STEPS programme will support 40 businesses through a competitive voucher programme that offers €12,5k worth of assistance from leading universities to each business free of charge. Additionally, 20 of these companies will receive expert support worth €50k each, to demonstrate their technology at regional end-users (testbeds) throughout North-West Europe.

 

The programme combines business support and knowledge partners from Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom to strengthen the competitiveness of innovative energy storage solution providers in North-West Europe (NWE).

 

STEPS offers SMEs a user-centric, demand-driven approach to bring their products closer to the market through tailored testing. Specifically, knowledge and business partners will advise e-storage SMEs on entering new markets in North-West Europe, engage with potential end-users, and increase the awareness of solution providers. STEPS will also connect end-users with providers of new e-storage solutions via a business support programme to increase their technological readiness level (TRL) through real-life testing.

 

The opportunity for SMEs to demonstrate their solutions at a real end-user, allows businesses to showcase and develop their e-storage solution, empowering them to scale up and grow their innovation. Additional expert advice on legal, market, and business models will help SMEs reach new customers and successfully grow their business. Through the STEPS programme, energy storage innovators in North-West Europe will solve local challenges and boost their competitiveness in the global market.

 

 “Energy storage innovators in Ireland face significant challenges in getting their solutions to the market, particularly when looking for opportunities to test their technology with real end-users. As experienced facilitators, 3cea is working with other Irish partners to accelerate innovation in our region, to get value from science and technology. We are excited to be part of the sustainable energy transition and we look forward to watching these businesses grow,” Michael Doran, EU Projects Manager 3cea.

 

3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) is a non-profit, independent energy agency working primarily in Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford. 3cea is a leader in sustainable efficient use of locally produced clean energy delivering low carbon homes, jobs and enterprise. 3cea will play a strategic role regionally, partnering with its members and supporting all stakeholders on their energy transition journey to 2030 and beyond. 3cea will continue to play a leading role in the region by initiating exemplar local actions, working in collaboration with our member groups.

 

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More information

 

Business support programme website: https://www.stepsnwe-application.com/

STEPS website: https://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/steps-storage-of-energy-power-systems-in-nwe/

STEPS Twitter: https://twitter.com/stepsnwe

STEPS LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/stepsnwe/

 

Contact

 

Michael Doran

EU Projects Manager

3cea

mdoran@3cea.ie

 

Patrick Cantwell

Marketing & Communications Officer

3cea

pcantwell@3cea.ie

 

For more information on the STEPS project, visit our dedicated webpage.

Press Release pdf available here.

IESA Calls for National Green Hydrogen Strategy

The Irish Energy Storage Association (IESA) has called upon the government to establish a Hydrogen Task Force to develop a National Green Hydrogen Strategy. 

Recently, the European Commission launched its strategy document entitled “A hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe” in which it states “hydrogen [is] essential to support the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and for the global effort to implement the Paris Agreement while working towards zero pollution”. Additionally, similar hydrogen strategies have been formulated by the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal as well as China, Japan and Australia.

The Irish Energy Storage Association believes that immediate action is required from the Irish Government if we are not to be left behind by our fellow EU-Members and the wider global economy in this rapidly developing green hydrogen economy.

Read the IESA Press Release in full here.

For more information visit The Irish Energy Storage Association Website

bioenergy ireland

The Irish Bioenergy opportunity is immense – Paddy Phelan elected as the new President of the The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)

Press Release: 29/05/2020

This week the new President and Vice President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) were elected by the Management Executive Committee of the organisation. Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 County Energy Agency was elected the new President and Maurice Ryan, Director and Business Development at Green Belt was elected the new Vice President. They both take up their roles at a time of great opportunity for the organisation and the Irish Bioenergy sector as the economy begins to reopens again following Covid 19.

Accepting the new role, IrBEA President Paddy Phelan said “I am delighted to take on the role as President of IrBEA. I look forward to working with members and all stakeholders for the betterment of the sector. The Irish Bioenergy opportunity is immense. This opportunity has yet to be recognised at a political or policy level with adequate action and support measures which are necessary for the widespread deployment of bioenergy. Sustainably produced bioenergy will play a key role in Irelands transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy. The bioenergy sectors covering biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels, are a key part of the overall bioeconomy and have a significant part to play in its growth and development. As well as contributing towards Ireland’s renewable energy targets, the sector can be the catalyst to drive jobs and economic growth in rural Ireland while assisting to address the climate change and emissions reduction challenges we face as a country and people”. Read more

The launch of 3 Counties Energy Agency Energy Transition Strategy 2020-2030

Click here to see photos from the event.

Regional Partnership to Locally Deliver at Scale to Meet 2030 Climate Action Targets

The 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) works locally and regionally, across Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford, as a trusted intermediary, to support and co-ordinate actions on the ground that contribute to the larger goals of the Climate Action Plan.

We are delighted to be launching our Regional Strategy to 2030 – a strategy that helps map the path we are going to have to follow together. The partnership underpins the capacity to deliver the Climate Action Plan at the regional level through public and private actors supported by the 3cea as the Trusted Intermediary.

Read more

Breakfast Briefing Events to guide your business to a Low Carbon Economy

Free Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Office initiative to increase awareness around sustainability and the low carbon economy

MANUFACTURING businesses across the south east employing less than 10 people are being offered a unique opportunity to cut harmful emissions and make significant energy, waste, water and other savings through the landmark Green for Micro programme.

Local Enterprise Offices in Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford and Tipperary are pooling their resources, talents and skills for ‘Green for Micro’. The ground-breaking Enterprise Ireland-funded initiative will assist businesses in transitioning to a low-carbon economy and could be rolled out nationally, those behind the initiative say.

Hands-on tips, expertise, mentoring, audits and more will be provided by project collaborators, the 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea). The independent, not-for-profit team of energy engineers at 3cea will help participating enterprises examine their energy, waste, water, procurement and transport needs and make more informed, environmentally-friendly choices.

The first in a series of free breakfast briefings explaining Green for Micro to industry and to increase awareness around sustainability and the low carbon economy begins on Tuesday, January 28 at Wexford’s Ferrycarrig Hotel, starting at 8.00am.

Sessions follow in Waterford’s Tower Hotel on Tuesday, February 11; Kilkenny’s Newpark Hotel on Thursday, February 13; Horse & Jockey in Tipperary on Tuesday, February 18 with the final, free breakfast briefing takes place in Carlow’s Woodford Dolmen Hotel on Thursday, February 20. Each breakfast briefing runs from 8.30am to 9.30am sharp.

Phase two of the project will then involve energy audits carried out on ten micro, manufacturing businesses – two in each of the five participating counties. The results of their findings will be showcased at a conference as part of phase three of the initiative. The final phase of the Enterprise Ireland-funded programme will see monitoring equipment installed at various enterprises.

Enterprise Ireland Regional Executive, Brian Fives said: “Micro enterprises across the South East are eager to play their part in transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Green for Micro shows them the way. Auditing their energy consumption, mapping the results and monitoring their transition will provide an invaluable insight into how every enterprise can play its part in Ireland meeting its 2030 climate targets. We are proud to be leading the way here in the South East.”

Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny’s Aileen McGrath : “We urge qualifying micro enterprises to attend the no obligation breakfast briefing, pick up an expression of interest form and see how even the smallest of changes in their manufacturing processes and general business decisions can make a big difference. While our primary target is manufacturing, micro enterprises in other sectors may also qualify and we encourage them to attend,” she said.

3cea Energy Engineer, Shane Faulkner, said: “We will provide each participating enterprise with up to nine days of expert help which will include audits, reports and mentoring. The level of buy-in from manufacturers in the region is extremely encouraging and are really looking forward to playing our part. The fact we’re working at a regional level rather than with individual manufacturing enterprises and in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices across the region makes Green for Micro a massive game changer for the entire South East, beyond even,” he said.

Green for Micro is one of three projects grant-aided to the tune of €345,000 by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD and lead by Kilkenny and Carlow Local Enterprise Offices in collaboration with the Local Enterprise Offices from Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.

The other projects include Initium South East and Incrementum South East.  The Initium South East project is an innovative series of start-up programmes led by the South East Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, and the Ireland South East Office in partnership with South East BIC and IT Carlow. It aims to animate, develop and support the creation of 40 new specialised Start Up companies in the South East.

The Incrementum South East project is a targeted business development programme for the Local Enterprise Office Portfolio of clients over 10 employees which aims to increase their engagement in R&D and Export Activity.

About this event

Registration & breakfast for the event starts at 8 am, the first speaker will begin at 8:30 am.

The Breakfast Briefing events are free to attend but please register your attendance on Eventbrite or by contacting Mari or Patrick on 0567790856 or at events@3cea.ie

Wexford Event – Register Here

Waterford Event – Register Here

Kilkenny Event – Register Here

Carlow Event – Register Here

Tipperary Event – Register Here

There will be speakers representing local businesses to talk about what they have done in improving the environmental and cost competitiveness of their business.

Real life stories and case studies 

At the first Breakfast Briefing event in Wexford, Killowen Farm and Kehoe’s Potatoes will give an overview of the projects they have undertaking including measuring and monitoring, reducing waste, installing LED lights, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity and putting a plan in place to to tackle their rising costs.

3cea will give a presentation on supports available to SMEs and how to access theses supports and grants.

Free information meeting about grants and assistance to make homes and buildings more energy efficient

Grant schemes covering up to 80% of costs to be explained

Home and business owners, farmers, community groups, housing associations and more across Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford who want to slash their energy costs, reduce their carbon footprint and enjoy the comfort of more energy efficient homes are invited to a free, no obligation information meeting which highlights the attractive grants and expert help available to complete such works. Read more