A Regional Renewable Energy Analysis – April 2018
Using Biomass to contribute to the National Renewable Heat Target
This report shows the vibrancy, opportunity and challenges that we have to address, alongside a raft of talent, experience, knowledge and appetite, on which we can build and drive forward, in a collaborative and open way. This reflects the WDC’s ambition to drive forward and accelerate the transition to a low carbon energy future.
Download the full report here PDF 3.07KB Biomass Report
BioPAD Case Study Analysis
Case studies were prepared in each partner region, to provide examples of different bioenergy development issues and different supply chain solutions. The case studies provide important lessons and solutions regarding supply chain issues, and highlight the factors that drive bioenergy developments. This document provides a summary of the key policy features of each case study.
BioPAD Country Policy Analysis
The energy situation and the factors affecting the development of Bioenergy, in each of the partner regions are very different. This is as a result of natural resource, political commitment and culture. Therefore the approach to bioenergy policy development has been very different in each region, even within the UK, where Scotland and Northern Ireland have adopted diverse measures. This is a summary of renewable energy development in each country, highlighting those measures which have related to bioenergy.
BioPAD Policy Gaps Analysis
In conjunction with the policy work carried out during the Biopad project, and after considering the policy issues associated with the Case Studies, we have identified what the Policy Gaps are in the partner regions, in relation to bioenergy. Some of the Gaps are general and relate to the way in which policy has been implemented in the past, others are specific, relating to particular circumstances. We have chosen the National Renewable Energy Action Plans as the starting point for analysing what is required, to get to the positions that the partner regions have identified as being appropriate for them.
BioPAD Policy Recommendations
This report is focussed on the Policy recommendations that we recommend, to ensure that the opportunities from Bioenergy are realised in the partner countries. Bioenergy policy does not exist in isolation from the policy initiatives which drive other sectors. The EU Renewable Energy Action Plans are sub-divided into three sectors, Electricity, Heating and Cooling and Transport. We have therefore considered the overall impact, of what is required in each partner country, before focussing on Bioenergy Policy Recommendations. We have started by identifying the overarching Policy requirement at EU level.
Gussing Policy Study Tour
As part of the BioPAD project, the partners conducted a study tour to the town of Gussing in Austria. Over the last 30 years Austria has moved from a country reliant on imported fossil fuels into one which now generates almost 60% of its energy requirement from indigenous sources, none more so that the town of Güssing, which has transformed itself, over the last 15 years into a centre of excellence for the production of energy from local sources. The region of Burgenland, in which Güssing is situated, aims to source its energy requirements sustainably. It already has a biomass gasification plant producing electricity and heat, and a centralised district heating system. The town also hosts the European Centre for Renewable Energy, to share its research and experiences, which has added to the region’s knowledge and reputation and provided more local employment. he policy learnings from this tour can be found in the document below:
RASLRES Policy Toolkit
This is an overview of some of the policy measures that have been adopted across the EU, over the last ten years, to promote Renewable Energy. There is a range of measures, including obligations and incentives, which have been developed by member States to address particular issues within their jurisdiction. We have then summarised how suitable those measures might be, particularly for Bioenergy and when they might be appropriate.
BioPAD Emmissions Analysis
As part of the BioPAD project, ‘Carbon Stories’ were created for the Wood, Energy Crops and Other Biomass (Anaerobic Digestion) supply chains, and are part of the BISCUIT report.
These individual Carbon Stories, along with an integrated Carbon Story, can be found below:
As part of the BioPAD project the four partners have worked to influence the adoption of biomass energy solutions in the partner regions and beyond. The decision making process involved where companies and organisations are considering new or alternative energy solutions are necessarily complex and it is often difficult to definitively ascribe an outcome to any one piece of advice. Never the less, the projects in the report below exemplify a range of renewable energy projects that have at least been influenced to some degree by advice obtained from the project partners.
BioPAD Report on Local Economic and Social Benefits of using Bioenergy
Use of local bioenergy brings significant economic and social benefits to an area or region. For example in a wood fuel supply chain the jobs and return on investment are typically spread across the supply chain and result in additional income to:
- private forest owner – contributing to farm household income as creation of wood energy market provides new market for their forest thinnings
- forest contracts – increase in thinnings contracts from private sector
- haulage companies – transport of fuel supply from source to end user
- plumbers/engineering/electrician companies – installation of boilers and provision of fuel storage e.g. fuel silos, bunkers, handling systems etc
Energy users have the potential for energy cost savings when bioenergy is used and for increased energy price stability in the longer term. This can impact significantly on regional competitiveness in areas with high dependency on oil and limited access to the gas network. Energy prices, security of supply and quality play a central role in maintaining regional competitiveness. Correspondingly a switch to bioenergy represents a major economic opportunity for the region.
BioPAD aims to increase the level of deployment of renewable energy technologies in rural economies. This will result in a range of economic impacts including the creation and retention of employment, and the piloting of new business concepts and products. The increased renewable energy uptake will impact positively on regional competitiveness, innovation and diversification of economic activity in rural areas.
Three studies of these benefits were carried out as part of BioPAD.
The first of these reviews the social and economic benefits of bioenergy. View the report here:
The second looks at the value chains associated with bioenergy to estimate the local benefits in Finland. You can view it here:
The third used case studies to analyses local social and economic benefits in Ireland. The summary report is available here:
BioPAD report on New Business Opportunities in Bioenergy
One of the most important outcomes of bioenergy development is the opportunity for new businesses and new business types to be created in response to the new demand and supply opportunities.
One way to see what opportunities there might be in the bioenergy sector is to see what others are doing elsewhere. It could be possible to either introduce new business, or adapt existing businesses models to new places and to new operational environments.
The BioPAD project decided to do a survey of new business opportunities. In this survey, wood energy professionals were asked if they were familiar with certain bioenergy businesses and if these businesses would be applicable in their operational environment.
The survey results are presented below. This is not a scientific report but the example of business opportunities around forest biomass for energy. All businesses discussed in the report exist in Finland, where over 20% of primary energy is produced by wood based solid and liquid fuels.
You can view the New Business Opportunities Report here:
BioPAD Case Studies
As part of the BioPAD project, a number of case studies will be carried out on different fuel types and conversion technologies in each of the partner regions. A summary of the case studies carried out in the BioPAD project can be found in BioPAD e-zine issue 5 here: BioPAD E-ZINE Issue 5 – Case Studies
BioPADs model energy supply contracts
Dr Neil James (Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College UHI, Scotland) has prepared a summary of the availability of sample energy supply contracts in BioPAD partner regions (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland). To assist those wishing to enter the bioenergy market or seeking to use a heat purchase contract, we provide here examples of model or template energy supply contracts which are available to use free of charge. Our aim is to will facilitate greater interest and help remove uncertainty surrounding heat procurement, which will stimulate the development of local bioenergy markets. The full details are available in the report below:
RASLRES Resource Assessments of the Western Region
The renewable heat market has the potential to create considerable levels of employment across the Western Region and to provide long-term stable markets for low value wood fuels which can compete with fossil fuels and so reduce and fix energy prices for end users. Local wood biomass resources are finite, however, and as demand for biomass increases in a variety of markets, a greater understanding of the available resources at both a county and regional level is required.
The resource assessments provide interested parties with an overview of the potential supply of wood based biomass and estimated demand for renewable heat market within each county. They also highlight the issues regarding the potential impacts of large scale projects such as Bio-Refineries and/or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants on county and regional supply chains.
RASLRES – District Heating as an Enabling Technology for Biomass in the Western Region
This report prepared for RASLRES examines issues for District Heating as an Enabling Technology for Biomass in public sector buildings and the wider community in the Western Region. It outlines the issues for the development of District Heating in Ireland and uses three case studies of existing District Heating schemes to highlight the benefits and learnings. It also provides case studies of two potential schemes in the Western Region.
RASLRES ESCO Model Contracts and Guidance Notes
The renewable heat market has the potential to create considerable employment and to provide long-term stable markets for low value wood fuels which can compete with fossil fuels and so reduce or fix energy prices for end users. In the course of the RASLRES project it was found that there was considerable uncertainty in relation to the procurement of heat (rather than fuel) in Ireland through Energy Supply contracts (ESCO) and project partners felt this was a barrier to the development of the heat market as public bodies are in an excellent position to provide an example and stimulate the development of their local markets.
The ESCO model contracts and guidance notes were developed to provide a template for public ESCO model contracts which would be available to business or public sector users seeking to use a heat purchase contract. These are downloadable below:
RASLRES – Bioenergy and the Western Region
RASLRES produced this report as part of the action plan with the Local Authorities in the Western Region of Ireland. The report aims to assist the Local Authorities in reviewing the benefits of bioenergy and how they may be leveraged. The report assesses the County Development Plans and looks at how bioenergy can both impact on them, and be impacted by them.
The result is that, if considered holistically under the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental sustainability, bioenergy has the potential to help deliver many of the responsibilities touched on in the County Development Plans. Local Authorities generally have a common set of working areas and objectives, and bioenergy can in many instances help deliver these objectives, particularly in the areas of attracting inwards investment, employment creation, rural regeneration, climate change, energy security, and creating a secure business environment.
RASLRES Wood Energy Guide
The Wood Energy Guide “Using local timber to heat your home” is an ‘all you need to know guide’ for end users in considering locally produced timber as a renewable energy resource for their homes and businesses. It provides practical information for home owners and small scale businesses on boiler types and sourcing suitable appliances, and types of fuel available and practical tips for wood storage
RASLRES – Energy from Wood Biomass – Environmental Management Considerations
This report has been produced by Norsjö municipality as an activity under the European Union Northern Periphery Programme project RASLRES (Regional Approaches to Stimulating Local Renewable Energy Solutions – www.raslres.eu). The intention with this report is to raise awareness of potential environmental impacts and how to mitigate them when increasing the uptake of biomass in terms of forestry. It should however be pointed out that these environmental impacts should be put in perspective with the alternatives, which in many cases are fossil fuels.
RASLRES – Review of Woodchip Supply in the Western Region
This market research report presents an overview of the woodchip supply sector in the Western Region. The analysis looks at the level of activity, the scale and the maturity of the companies that supply woodchips for the commercial heating market in the region. This information is of interest to those planning a woodchip fired boiler scheme, and to potential new fuel supply producers or processors.
RASLRES Technical Reports
The following two technical reports are based on experiences with RASLRES pilot projects in the Western Region. The reports aim to share the lessons from the RASLRES projects with other potential industrial heat users. One report looks at how a manufacturing plant switched to biomass from coal for process drying. The second report draws together the lessons from two manufacturing plants (namely a milk processing plant and an animal feed plant) who assessed biomass boilers for process steam.
RASLRES – Wood Energy Installations in the Western Region
This market research report presents a review of medium scale wood energy installations (defined as systems with a boiler size range of 60kW to 1MW) in the Western Region of Ireland.
The report presents a profile of current wood energy users in the region and documents the lessons learnt from operation of installations to date. The analysis informs on future industry planning by detailing the current demand in this market segment, and by providing guidance to potential wood energy users on key issues to consider when developing a project.
RASLRES – Energy Crop Opportunities in the Western Region
The report Energy Crop Opportunities in the Western Region presents an analysis of the potential of energy crops in the Western Region of Ireland based on the application of the national bioenergy Geographical Information System (BGIS), and discusses key factors impacting on the future development of the energy crop sector. The market analysis is of interest to existing and potential fuel producers and processors, private developers of bioenergy projects, local development companies and activists, and public sector players at a policy level and also public procurement of energy. The WDC delivered the report under RASLRES in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Teagasc.
RASLRES – Research on Wood Energy in the West of Ireland
The results of research that has been carried out through the RASLRES project into the availability and need for wood energy in the West of Ireland is being made available to the public.
This unique research comprises three publications:
- Part one comprises of regional and county based forecasts of the potential wood fuel resource of the West for the period 2010 to 2028; a review of the existing pulpwood and biomass markets within the WDC region and an assessment of the potential for the Western wood energy market. This research document is available for download here
- Part two determines an energy balance for the Western region, to understand the current demand for heating and to estimate the future demand for biomass heating in the region. This research document is available for download here
- Part three outlines the method for initial heat mapping of the Western Region. This document is available for download here
Communities and Renewable Energy – A Guide
This guide is for communities considering participating in a renewable energy project. It offers direction to communities looking at investing in or setting up a renewable energy project. The guide also offers private developers an insight into obtaining local community support for establishing a project, and policy makers will find this guide useful for identifying what is needed to encourage community involvement in the sector. The guide is based on a case study of a wind energy project in Co. Mayo. This project was a follow-on action from the publication of To Catch the Wind (2004).
To Catch the Wind -The Potential for Community Ownership of Wind Farms in Ireland
Ireland has one of the most promising, untapped energy resources to be found anywhere in Europe – wind energy. It is one of the few sectors in which the West of Ireland in particular has a major competitive advantage over almost every other region in Europe. This study set out to explore the potential for community ownership of wind farm in Ireland.