Posted on 20 January 2012.
Following a series of significant increases in energy prices and within the context of Northern Ireland having the highest levels of fuel poverty in the UK (double that in Great Britain), the Consumer Council is urging the Executive and the Regulator to re-examine the McIldoon Report and ensure that energy policy and regulatory frameworks provide consumers with the best possible deal.
Antoinette McKeown, Consumer Council chief executive explains: “In light of recent energy price rises, the Consumer Council has reviewed Douglas McIldoon’s 2008 report and we agree with his continuing conclusion that energy policy in Northern Ireland remains confused and contradictory today. Our concern is that consumers could be paying less for their electricity but the Consumer Council cannot act alone to achieve that. At the very least we believe there should be debate around how electricity prices could be lowered; this report is our contribution to that debate.”
Northern Ireland currently has the highest energy bills in the United Kingdom and recent statistics from Westminster show that the highest average annual energy bill in Great Britain is around £1,000 cheaper than the average annual combined oil and electricity bill in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, in Northern Ireland 44 per cent of households are in fuel poverty compared to 13 per cent in Great Britain.
In conjunction with launching its report ‘Consumer Council Analysis of the McIldoon Report – Orphans in the Energy Storm’, the Consumer Council is putting a number of questions to the NI Executive and the NI Utility Regulator including:
* Why does the price of electricity produced by wind generators rise when the price of gas rises?
* Why does the most expensive electricity generator set the price that is paid to all generators on the Island of Ireland?
* Why are some generators making profit margins of between 20 and 50 per cent when NI’s top 100 companies are seeing margins between 1 and 6 per cent?
* Why are wind generators paid for being on standby when the wind is not blowing?
Posted in Energy, Featured News
Posted on 27 July 2011.
Household recycling rates in Northern Ireland have risen by 3.3% compared to the same quarter last year. The quarterly household recycling and composting figures for January–March 2011 are at their highest since statistics began in 2008.
The Northern Ireland Waste Management Statistics for this period also highlight a 5.6% decrease in the amount of waste being landfilled by councils on the same basis.
Northern Ireland Environment Minister Alex Attwood welcomes the useful improvements that these statistics demonstrate. “The encouraging decrease in landfilled municipal waste is also welcome both environmentally and financially as this will reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and landfill tax costs,” he says. “However I was disappointed to see that the amount of household waste produced in Northern Ireland this quarter has increased by 2.6% compared to the same period last year. This demonstrates that we cannot be complacent. Recycling is one of the many ways that we can make our local area a better place to live and invest and I will be pushing to make Northern Ireland the leader of recycling on these Islands.”
The Minister recently released £400,000 of funding via round two of the Rethink Waste Revenue Fund to assist community and voluntary groups, councils and the private sector for recycling and re-use projects. Further detailed information on the application process, including the assessment criteria, application form and guidance notes is available on the News and Events section on the rethink waste website.
Posted in Featured News, News, Recycling
Posted on 27 June 2011.
GE Energy is using its expertise for grid modernisation to promote the development of a smart grid pilot network in Northern Ireland. The pilot would allow for a greater number of renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar energy to be connected to the existing electrical network—reducing carbon emissions and ensuring energy security and reliability.
As chairman of SmartGridIreland, a group of international and local businesses facilitated by the Center for Competitiveness, GE’s Paddy Turnbull participated in SGI’s smart grid pilot proposal to Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster this March.
“Northern Ireland has many competitive advantages in early adoption of a smart grid pilot project,” says Paddy Turnbull. “The region is rich in natural resources, and there is an abundance of ICT skills. This project would put Northern Ireland into a leadership position along with the Shetland Isles, Southeast England as well as internationally where similar trials were being advanced.”
Nothing has changed much in the past 100 years on how electrical energy has been supplied and distributed, but society and energy consumption has changed. Today, countries are facing global energy challenges like never before. GE supports smart grid development for modernising the electric infrastructure to meet the world’s growing capacity, environmental and security needs.
Using communications and advanced metering technologies, the proposed pilot project for Northern Ireland will demonstrate the benefits and opportunities of alternative supplies of energy while preparing consumers for the social changes taking place nationally.
The smart grid pilot plan, which was prepared after an extensive collaboration by the SGI network, sets out the case for the early local trial of smart grid technologies and was submitted to DETINI in November 2010. If adopted, this could help Northern Ireland achieve a leading position in this emerging technology sector and also accelerate progress towards the achievement of the European Union 20/20/20 targets.
Posted in Energy, Featured News, News
Posted on 20 May 2011.
The collaborative network, One Industrial, has been formed by three Northern Ireland specialist engineering companies to offer a turnkey service in the construction, installation and maintenance of renewable energy plants. The collaboration is between Axon Power and Control, Eurofab Structural Engineering, both Dungannon, and Pipesketch in Londonderry.
“This is an important strategic initiative by three local companies which have identified the extent of new business opportunities particularly in renewable energy generation and have combined to maximise the potential of their extensive expertise and experience. The companies have teamed up to provide one accessible point of contact that will deliver end-to-end installations, commissioning, operations and maintenance,” explains Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s managing director of innovation and capability development.
“The businesses in the One Industrial collaboration have almost 50 years experience in engineering services for the energy sector in the UK, Ireland and internationally,” points out John Donaghy, managing director of Axon Power. “Together they offer a uniquely convenient and cost effective method for European companies to deliver their renewable energy projects anywhere in the UK or Ireland.”
Axon Power designed and installed the automated controls for an incinerator bottom ash processing plant at Brentford in England. Eurofab engineered and installed a state-of-the-art pellet storage and distribution plant for a biomass plant for Forever Fuels in Devon, England. Pipesketch designed, fabricated and installed the pipework at the Deutzbank ICT Data Centre in London.
Posted in News
Posted on 06 April 2011.
Building on its successful relationship with Northern Ireland Water, WYG has won a contract to help improve water quality for residents of east Belfast. The Leeds-based consultancy will be designing, managing and co-ordinating construction design management on a new £750,000 project to reduce out-of-sewer spills to water courses. This project forms part of a larger eight year framework.
For over seven years, WYG has been managing Northern Ireland Water’s Integrated Wastewater Framework which is designed to reduce the risk of flooding and improve water quality for the eastern region of Northern Ireland.
“Since the project is located centrally in the Connswater Greenway scheme, the design and construction work will be undertaken considerately to its surroundings. The Greenway will create a 9km linear park through east Belfast, following the course of the Connswater, Knock and Loop Rivers, which makes the location environmentally sensitive,” comments Ernie Spence, associate of WYG. “Throughout the project we will be focused on alleviating disturbance to the surroundings, working in a sustainable manner through the design and construction phases. Our design involves converting concepts developed using hydraulic modelling into buildable solutions, whilst minimising environmental impact and providing value for money.”
Northern Ireland has inherited a legacy of acute underinvestment in water and sewerage systems, which has led to significant disparity when compared with the rest of the UK’s water industry, in particular in the areas of out of sewer flooding and water mains leakage. However, last year saw some £778m being invested in water and wastewater infrastructure – £174m in water treatment and storage facilities and mains improvement and £614m in wastewater collection and treatment systems.
WYG will be replacing a combined sewer overflow chamber, associated pipework and outfall structures. The project is anticipated to be completed in December 2011.
Posted in News
Posted on 28 February 2011.
Conor Guy, managing director of Envirogreen Recycling, has been shortlisted for the Belfast Telegraph Young Business Person the Year Award 2011. He was a runner-up in this category last year. The awards will be held on Thursday April 7.
Envirogreen Recycling was also recently named the Best Green Business in Northern Ireland at the Ulster Bank Business Achiever Awards. Envirogreen Recycling now moves onto the Ulster Bank All-Ireland finals, which will be held on Thursday 14th April in Dublin.
Envirogreen Recycling provides paper and cardboard collection and recycling services to customers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It also provides metal and waste plastic packaging recycling services throughout Ireland.
Posted in News
Posted on 21 February 2011.
A £4million EU funded geological project to carry out further analysis of Northern Ireland’s natural resources has been launched. The cross-border Tellus Border project has been funded by the INTERREG IVA development programme of the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Special European Programmes Body. This is the largest of the latest awards under the Environment theme of INTERREG IVA and is part funded by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland will manage the project in partnership with Geological Survey of Ireland, The Queen’s University, Belfast and Dundalk Institute of Technology.
The project is an extension of the award-winning Tellus Project in Northern Ireland, which produced new maps and digital data of soils, rocks and stream waters of the whole of Northern Ireland.
The project will provide high quality geological information to ensure sustainable use of natural resources. It will continue the analysis of the information gathered under the Tellus Project and help inform government development decisions including sustainable use of land in planning decisions, and enhance further private sector investment in areas such as mineral exploration.
Continuing the analysis of the Tellus data, the Border project will undertake innovative research, particularly in the scientific assessment and management of wetlands, soil-carbon and ground-pollution. The project will also integrate the geo-science information mapped on both sides of the border and improve cross-border collaboration in the management of earth resources and the environment.
The area covered by the project includes Northern Ireland, (excluding the Belfast Metropolitan Area) and the six northern counties of the Republic of Ireland (Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Monaghan, Cavan and Louth).
Posted in News
Posted on 04 February 2011.
Action Renewables has announced eleven local organisations which are leading the way in embracing the importance of renewable energy and sustainability and actively engaging in renewable technologies within the fast developing ‘green’ industry in Northern Ireland. These organisations have been shortlisted for the third annual Action Renewables Association Awards sponsored by Tughans.
A record number of entries are competing for six extremely competitive awards this year. The organisations which have been short listed include: Coca-Cola HBC NI, Greiner Packaging, Oaklee Housing Association, Tyrone Timbers, Castle Ward Base Camp – National Trust, Larne Borough Council – Solar Bins, Kingspan Varisol, Rural Generation, Loreto Grammar School and Omagh County Primary School.
The categories are: Best Carbon Saving Project sponsored by firmus energy; Best Energy Saving SME sponsored by ESB IE; Most Innovative Construction Project sponsored by Gilbert Ash; Most innovative Renewables Installation sponsored by Dimplex Renewables; Outstanding award for work in the renewable energy sector in NI sponsored by Tughans; and Renewable Energy Awareness Award (Best School) sponsored by RES.
With growing concerns over the Northern Ireland economy, it is likely that environmental issues will take less of a priority on the business agenda, due to the financial demands being placed on local organisations. However with rising energy costs, security of supply issues and environmental legislation to consider, renewable energy generation must grow significantly in order to help local organisations reduce cost, gain a competitive edge and meet government targets.
The winners will be announced at the Action Renewables Association Awards luncheon on Monday 28th February 2011 in the Ulster Museum.
Posted in Featured News, News
Posted on 18 January 2011.
The Northern Ireland Renewable Industry Group (NIRIG) is holding a Northern Ireland Policy Event on Thursday 20th January in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast. This event will also mark the formal launch of NIRIG which represents the collective voices of IWEA and Renewable UK in Northern Ireland.
The workshop will consider the actions required by industry, government and others to deliver the recently published Strategic Energy Framework. The conference will cover high level issues including planning, grid infrastructure and regulation as well as considering technical issues such as development on peat, the impact of the Onshore SEA and environmentally acceptable development.
For further information contact the IWEA office on Tel (0)45 899341 or Irene Canty email@example.com.
Posted in Featured News, News
Posted on 02 December 2010.
Action Renewables Association has launched its 2011 renewable energy and sustainability awards competition, which is sponsored by Tughans. Now in their third year, the Action Renewables Association Awards aim to recognise and reward numerous businesses who are leading the way by identifying the importance of renewable energy and sustainability, as well as embracing renewable technologies within the fast developing ‘green’ industry in Northern Ireland.
Seven awards are up for grabs including: Best Energy Saving SME (sponsored by ESB IE); Most Innovative Construction Project (sponsored by Gilbert Ash), Most Innovative Renewables Installation (sponsored by Dimplex Renewables), Most Sustainable Travel Plan Implemented by SME (sponsored by firmus), Renewable Energy Awareness Award (Best School) (sponsored by RES), Best Carbon Saving Project (sponsored by GT Energy) and Tughans will be presenting the Action Renewables Award for Outstanding Work in the Renewable Energy Sector in Northern Ireland.
The deadline for entries is Monday 20th December and all categories will be shortlisted by the experts at Action Renewables and judges Norman Aspley, chief executive of Northern Ireland Science Park as well as Linda Stewart the environment correspondent for the Belfast Telegraph.
The Action Renewables Association Awards are designed to reward the best projects and people within the energy industry in Northern Ireland and for 2011 we have opened the awards up so that all organisations can now enter,” says Michael Doran, director of Action Renewables. “We are extremely eager to see which organisations in Northern Ireland are leading the way this year and who will be rewarded for their exceptional efforts.” For further information on the awards and to enter visit www.actionrenewables.org.uk.
Acton Renewables ‘Green Goddess’ Dearbhla Hogan.
Posted in Featured News, News
Posted on 01 December 2010.
Gaelectric, the Irish renewable energy group, has received planning approval for a 15 Megawatt (MW) wind farm at Inishative, near Pomeroy, in County Tyrone. The wind farm development will consist of six wind turbines with a maximum hub height of 64 metres and a maximum blade diameter of 71 metres, and will be capable of generating enough renewable energy to meet the average annual electricity consumption of approximately 8,000 homes.
Representing an investment of £22 million, the Inishative wind farm development is the latest in a portfolio of renewable energy projects that Gaelectric is progressing in Northern Ireland, which together totals approximately 200 MW of power generation capacity.
Gaelectric secured full planning approval for two further wind energy developments, a 15MW wind farm in Carn Hill, Newtownabbey, County Antrim and a 12.5 MW wind farm in Cregganconroe, Pomeroy, County Tyrone, earlier this year giving the company 42.5 MW of consented projects in Northern Ireland. Construction of this £62 million pipeline will begin in early 2011.
“Government policy needs to give further weight and importance to economic considerations and the opportunities for economic development that wind power developments present. In these straightened times we do not have the luxury of behaving as if we live in an ideal world where every risk and threat can be perfectly balanced. A focused and proactive approach to economic opportunities is needed to steer the economy – North and South – on a sustainable growth path,” comments Brendan McGrath, chief executive of Gaelectric. “We have been progressing a number of wind farm sites in Tyrone and Antrim through the planning approval process for a number of years, which have required us to work closely with the NI Executive and planning authorities in Northern Ireland. These authorities recognise the importance of renewable power generation in a sustainable energy future and we are seeing well-prepared, viable projects successfully securing planning approval.”
Gaelectric completed an extensive consultation programme to update local communities on the Inishative proposal. A locally administered community fund amounting to £250,000 will be set up to support community projects. Gaelectric has also committed to spending up to £4.5million in project costs on construction and operations with local companies.
Gaelectric currently has 25 projects at different stages of development on the island of Ireland. Just over half of these projects are in Northern Ireland.
Posted in Featured News, News
Posted on 02 November 2010.
Pioneers in the recycling of organic effluents and sludges using short rotation willow coppice plantations, Rural Generation, recently played host to a delegation of German and Austrian renewable energy experts and academics from one of the world’s leading biomass boiler manufacturers, KWB Biomass Heating Systems. The European delegation came to Northern Ireland on a special fact finding visit with a view to learning from Rural Generation’s unique holistic model.
“The introduction of tighter EU Waste Management Legislation and regulation has meant that it has become increasingly important for organisations to dispose of their waste in a compliant and environmentally sustainable manner,” says Stephan Jantscher, chief executive of KWB Biomass Systems. The delegation was particularly interested in learning about Rural Generation’s work with regards to the development of willow and its usage in waste management processes.
John Gilliland, chairman of Rural Generation, comments: “Willow has a very high transpiration and growth rate and uses up large volumes of nutrients and water as it grows. This system acts as a very effective biofilter, converting useful nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, contained in the waste streams, and reducing the levels of pollutants in the environment. The willow crop is fertilised by the nutrients and is then harvested for wood fuel energy. We provide advice and assistance regarding soil and waste stream suitability and nutrient management planning together with complete willow crop establishment.”
Posted in News