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.”

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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.’

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The Role of Bioenergy in Decarbonising Ireland

On the second day of the SEAI Energy Show 2021 The Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) with 3cea CEO, Paddy Phelan, presented their thoughts on ‘The Role of Bioenergy in Decarbonising Ireland’. The presentation was chaired by Seán Finan from the IrBEA and featured Teresa Patton (Green Generation), Noel Gavigan (IrBEA), and Paddy Phelan (3cea) as panelists.

Teresa Patton Discusses Bioenergy in Transport

During the presentation, the panelists discussed some of the current uses of Bioenergy, where they believe this can go, and how Ireland is well-positioned to fully embrace Bioenergy as a renewable fuel source. Terresa Patton of Green Generation discussed the importance of a circular economy and how Green Generation is looking to take food waste and use anaerobic microbes to digest the food waste and produce biogas.

Terresa stated that the emissions in transport can be saved from using green gas and she sees long-distance trucks as being a clear target for biogas. Using a representative journey of a truck going from Dublin City Centre to the outer county region, Green Generation calculates that the truck will generate 11289 kg of Co2eq in a year. Replacing these emissions with biogas is the equivalent of planting 806 mature trees. One issue long-distance drivers will face in Ireland currently, should they choose to switch to a biogas alternative, is that there isn’t many biogas refuel stations across Ireland. This is something Green Generation believes needs to be addressed in the coming years.

Noel Gavigan Discusses Bioenergy to Meet Ireland’s Heat Demands

After Terresa Patton, Noel Gavigan discussed the potential for bioenergy production in Ireland and potential sources for that energy. Currently, the Irish heat energy demand is 56 TWh (Terra-Watt hours or 1000 GWh). However, Ireland currently has the resources to produce up to 76 TWh of heat energy from bioenergy sources. These include agriculture and food-processing by-products, through biogas production, and especially through woodchips of which we have an abundance. Noel highlighted that The IrBEA will be releasing their Heat Plan next week which will highlight where they believe the future of Irish heat energy can be sourced from, using renewable sources.

Paddy Phelan Calls for Government Focus to Shift to Bioenergy and Away From Renewable Electricity

The call from Paddy Phelan (President of IrBEA) is for government focus to shift away from renewable electricity, which has failed to meet targets in the past and has serious grid constraints, and instead begin serious consideration of bioenergy sources to meet renewable energy targets. A historical lack of sufficient policy development or supports to properly plan to decarbonize the heat and transport sector has made the past few years a frustrating time in the Irish Bioenergy sector. During his talk, Paddy highlighted how electricity accounts for 20% of Ireland’s energy demand, whereas heat accounts for 40% and emits 22% of the total C02eq emissions. This highlights a clear need to position focus on renewable heat energy, where bioenergy is well-posed to reduce carbon emissions and fulfill the Irish heat energy demands as seen from Noel’s talk.


“There have been decades of under-delivery in this Heat and Transport Renewable Electricity Targets. The 2020 Renewable Electricity Energy Targets falling well short across Heat and transport.
Renewable Electricity and Electrification of heat and transport has been the policy focus, but the reality is that with grid constraints, curtailment and grid improvement infrastructure projects are not able to keep pace with the decarbonising targets for many years now.
I believe that BioEnergy as an indigenous, locally sourced dispatchable energy source that can deliver large emissions reductions across every energy community in Ireland.”

Paddy Phelan, CEO 3cea, President IrBEA


Renewable Energy Ireland’s 40 by 30 Renewable Heat Plan

To support this vision of the heat energy industry, coordinated by The Irish Bioenergy Association, Renewable Energy Ireland and its members across all of the renewable sectors and technologies have come together to launch the 40 by 30 plan (or Heat Plan as described by Noel Gavigan) next week. This plan establishes a vision for 2030 on how the Irish government through comprehensive and well-thought-out actions can deliver 40% renewable heat by 2030 across. The plan has identifies the potential resources, technologies, costs and sets out a clear pathway and new vision to deliver the 7% carbon emissions reductions required.

Closing out his talk, Paddy Phelan called on government and ministers to act immediately following the publication of the 40 by 30 Renewable Heat Plan and adopt it from Renewable Energy Ireland into the upcoming revision of the Climate Action Plan. Paddy stated that it’s time to ramp up the supports around BioEnergy to decarbonize the sector, refocus policymakers, and deliver the required actions to support the transition of heat and transport away for fossil fuels to areas such as imported gas and oil to deliver the significant emissions reduction potential from the BioEnergy Industry.

To learn more on the role of bioenergy in decarbonising Ireland and bioenergy in Ireland see the IrBEA website

And keep an eye out on our website for the release of the 40 by 30 Renewable Heat Plan.

 

STEPS Design for Safety in Battery Systems Symposium Hosted by University of Twente

The STEPS Design for safety in battery systems, hosted by University of Twente (UT), took place last month on Friday 12th March. This Symposium was focused on emphasising the importance of safety when designing battery systems and addressed the latest and most important battery safety developments around the world.

The below report is taken from Interreg NWE Report on the same Symposium which can be viewed here

With more and more people turning to renewable energy, the urgency to develop batteries is high and there is no time for the technology, “to prove itself and mature,” said Professor Braham Ferreira during the Symposium. This high pressure to develop has consequences for safety. As Deepak Pratap Singh stated, the pressure to develop quickly pushes for scientific breakthroughs that do not align with reality. Hence, as batteries develop at a fast pace, the requirements for design for safety in a battery system must too.

In her presentation, Rianne ‘t Hoen described how every energy storage system contains high energy densities. When this energy is released uncontrolled, it poses a clear risk. It is crucial to research the hazards of different battery systems and be aware of their hazardous elements such as the energy sources, the chemical sources, the materials, and the environment. Fire brigades in particular should be informed on the different hazardous elements within various battery systems so they can react accordingly in an emergency. Folkert van der Ploeg, Fire officer Twente Safety Campus, explained: the fires caused by batteries are different to ‘normal fires’ and mostly unknown to fire fighters. Nearly all speakers highlighted that the development of EU legislation and safety standards is fundamental to designing safe battery systems. As discussed during the Symposium, there is not one key solution to creating safe battery systems. To improve the safety of our battery systems we need to develop the technology, standards, and our knowledge about the systems components and the system as a whole.

See University of Twente’s Youtube channel for the highlights of the STEPS Design for Safety in Battery Systems symposium.

Also, see our own news and updates of the STEPS programme here.

3cea CEO Paddy Phelan Appointed As President of IESA

3cea CEO Paddy Phelan has been appointed as the president of the Irish Energy Storage Agency (IESA) after current president Peter Duffy announced he will step down. This appointment adds to Paddy’s current list of positions on public boards, including President of the Irish BioEnergy Association, Executive Committee of the Irish Wind Farmers Association, Member of the Chambers of Ireland Low Carbon Taskforce, and Committee Member of European Biogas Association.

The Irish Energy Storage Association (IESA) was established to promote the benefits of energy storage in Ireland. IESA represents the interests of the Irish energy storage sector, shares knowledge and experience with energy storage players worldwide, and works internationally by signing International Affiliation Agreements with representative storage bodies from other countries.

The purpose of IESA is :

  • to represent parties in the energy storage space across a range of applications including; the provision of system services, exploitation of arbitrage opportunities in the energy sector, and maximisation of the benefits of renewable energy on the island of Ireland. This would involve a wide range of technologies including batteries, flywheels, super capacitors, hydroelectric, compressed air and thermal storage.

  • to follow DS3 developments and respond to Consultations representing the views of IESA members.

  • to actively promote energy storage on the island of Ireland in order to meet the needs of the I-SEM and assist in combating climate change. IESA aims to meet these needs through providing new system services to the Transmission System Operators.

To read more about the IESA and their activities, see the IESA Website.

3cea would like to congratulate the outgoing president of the IESA, Peter Duffy on two and half years as the president of the IESA and wish him the best on his retirement.

We look forward to continually working with the IESA to meet Ireland’s current and future energy storage needs. To read more on how 3cea are currently working towards bettering the competitiveness of Irish energy storage SMEs, see our work in the EU Interreg NWE STEPS Programme.

 

STEPS First Voucher Applications Being Considered

STEPS First Voucher Applications are currently being considered and the Irish SMEs are expected to be announced later this month. STEPS (STORAGE OF ENERGY & POWER SYSTEMS) is an Interreg NWE funded project that will assist 3cea to identify small-scale energy storage systems suitable for two testbeds in our region. The project gives funding and testbeds to SMEs to allow them to develop their products and increase their Technology Readiness Level (TRL). To read more about 3cea’s activities in STEPS, see here.

The project started in 2020 and in March 2021, over 60 SMEs across Europe applied to access the support vouchers that the scheme offers. The first voucher support will initially give the SMEs €12K of support to develop their products. The Irish SMEs are being selected and will be matched with supporting universities, both NUIG and elsewhere in Europe. 3cea will be in the position to confirm the successful STEPS first voucher applications from our region within the next month. Those SMEs that are not selected for the 1st Voucher Support are invited to apply again for the second call opening in June 2021. To learn more about the STEPS project and how you can apply, see the STEPS Business Support Programme on Interreg NWE’s site.

Easter

Happy Easter!

10 ways to be sustainable this Easter weekend

Switch off!

Remember to turn the TV off after use. Leaving devices on standby wastes energy and can increase your electricity bills. A simple tip to reduce your energy consumption: if it’s not being used, switch it off. The same applies to lights, other household appliances and even your car. Switching off your car when you stop or pull over can reduce your carbon emissions, as leaving your engine idling can have an impact on your environment.

Open up your blinds

Opening up your blinds or curtains can brighten up your home. Use as much natural light as possible before switching on lights or lamps. Plus you can enjoy some more sunshine (while we have it!).

Turn down the heating

Try to keep your heating switched off for as long as possible. When you do get cold, try wearing an extra jumper or wrap up in a cosy blanket.

Recycle those Easter Eggs

After you’ve eaten all of your Easter eggs, you may be left with a lot of packaging. Remember to recycle the appropriate materials and correctly place them in the designated bin. Visit the EPA website for more recycling tips.

Get walking

Over this Easter weekend, swap in a walk instead of a drive when travelling within your 5km. Walking off the Easter eggs will benefit your health and wellbeing too.

Switch to reusable water bottle

When out and about, why not bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of buying single use plastic bottles. This is a simple change that anyone can make to live more sustainably.

Don’t forget your reusable grocery bags

Bring a reusable bag when you go shopping this weekend. Keep a few in the car or near the front door of your home so you don’t forget.

Buy your food locally

A shorter food chain can reduce waste before it reaches your home. Try buying your food this weekend from your local supermarket who supports food producers in your area.

Avoid food waste

Over the weekend, try to avoid food waste as much as possible. You can reduce your food waste by planning your meals in advance, saving your leftovers, and learning how to properly store food.

Spread the word

When speaking with friends and family this weekend, spread the word on your sustainable activities. Opening up the conversation on sustainability will help others to develop a new frame of mind. Setting an example for others can be both powerful and influential.

From all of us here at 3cea, we wish you and your family a very Happy Easter weekend!

Irish Local Authorities advised to prepare for EUCF 2nd Call

Irish Local Authorities are being asked to prepare for the second call of the European City Facility initiative (EUCF) which will open later this month. The second round of this European project will see a greater number of selected applicants benefit from the support and grant funding of €60,000 available to develop their sustainable energy project.

The call for applications will open from 29th March – 31st May.

For further information, including the revised guidelines for applicants and the eligibility criteria, visit the EUCF website for updates.

The EUCF team encourages Irish Local Authorities to identify their sustainable energy projects, get in touch with Ireland Country Expert, Siona Daly of Tipperary Energy Agency, and consult the EUCF website and / or helpdesk for any questions regarding the eligibility of their application.

For those in attendance, Siona Daly will be presenting the EUCF Second-Call at the AIEA webinar on April 13th. You may also register for our webinar on April 23rd 2:30 pm where Siona will discuss the EUCF and its application process. Registration for that webinar is available here. Finally, Siona will also be hosting one-to-one sessions for those that require assistance with their applications. To register your interest for this please email chealy@3cea.ie.

The EUCF project kicked off last year with great success. Over 250 applications from Local Authorities across the EU and the UK applied for the grant funding for their sustainable energy projects.

In June of last year, Irish Local Authorities were advised to join a webinar highlighting the benefits of applying for the initiative. Catch up on last year’s introduction to the EUCF initiative here.

To get advice on applying for the EUCF initiative, please contact Siona at ce.ireland@eucityfacility.eu.

500 Communities

Over 500 Communities engaging in SEAI Sustainable Energy Community Network

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced an increase in community groups joining their Sustainable Energy Communities Network.

SEAI recently reported that there has been higher engagement with their Sustainable Energy Communities Network as many new communities across Ireland have become Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) this year.

Over 500 communities have become SEC members, with up to 25,000 citizens making a difference in their locality. Each of these SEC groups are progressing towards a low carbon future by implementing energy efficient measures in all aspects of the community, including their homes, shops, sports clubs and community buildings. Read more from SEAIs announcement here.

Of the 500 communities engaging in the SEC Programme, we at 3cea are delighted to see that over 60 of the communities are from the South East Region. Take a look at the SEC Map on the SEAI website to find your community.

For more information on community programmes and successful projects, visit: https://3cea.ie/sectors/community/

 

Renewable Energy Opportunities for SECs – RESS Webinar for Community Groups

We would like to invite you to join our free online event for Sustainable Energy Communities.

Date: Wednesday 31st March at 1pm

The Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS), which was introduced last year, provides communities with an opportunity to develop their own renewable energy project. In this webinar we will go through the process of what is involved in setting up a renewable energy project in your community.

Attendees will hear from SEAI on the supports that will be provided for communities on this journey, from communities who either are or have been on this journey and there will be a talk on Energy Cooperatives and how these might work in your community.

Register here

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