Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise (GREBE) – A new Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) Programme Project

As a result of the RASLRES and BioPAD projects, a number of needs were identified around the areas of developing renewable energy businesses and supporting micro business and SMEs in this sector.  A project concept called ‘Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise (GREBE)’ was developed.  GREBE will focus on the challenges of peripheral and arctic regions as places for doing business and help develop renewable energy (RE) business opportunities provided by extreme conditions. It will support successful development of SMEs and start-ups in this sector through analysis of advanced RE options, expert business mentoring, transnational models of successful growth strategies, policy analysis and information on funding mechanisms for businesses and support agencies.

Challenges including a lack of critical mass, dispersed settlements, poor accessibility and vulnerability to climate change effects are well recognised. GREBE will equip SMEs and start-ups with the skills and confidence to overcome these challenges and use place based natural assets for RE to best sustainable effect.

GREBE will enable local entrepreneurs and SMEs to grow their business, to provide local jobs, and meet energy demands of local communities. A comprehensive approach that advocates a supportive and innovative policy framework and promotes awareness of funding schemes is required. GREBE will support diversification of the technological capacity of SMEs and start-ups so that they can exploit the natural conditions of their locations. RE tailored, expert guidance and mentoring will be provided to ensure SMEs and start-ups have the knowledge and expertise to grow and expand their businesses.

GREBE will provide a platform for transnational sharing of knowledge to demonstrate the full potential of the RE sector by showcasing innovations on RE technology and strengthening accessibility to expertise and business support available locally and in other NPA regions. By facilitating access to similar SMEs and start-ups, research institutes and technological experts, networking and learning opportunities will arise, with new skills and methods of doing business shared.

The project partnership includes the eight partners from six countries, Western Development Commission (ROI), Action Renewables (NI), Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (NI), Environmental Research Institute (SCO), LUKE (FI), Karelia University of Applied Sciences (FI), Narvik Science Park (NOR)  and Innovation Center Iceland (ICE).  The budget for this IS €1.77 million over three years, commencing 1st September 2015.   The project is funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme (

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Bioenergy Emissions & Local Benefits

On behalf of Western Development Commission (WDC), Action Renewables, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), and the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), we are pleased to announce the release of reports highlighting the benefits of bioenergy.

The BioPAD Emissions Pack features four guides to Energy Flows and Carbon Emissions, an analysis of Greenhouse Reductions Resulting from the BioPAD Project, and a case study examining the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wood Chips and Wood Pellets.

The Energy Flows and Carbon Emissions guides provide information regarding emissions and flow of carbon and energy for individual bioenergy feedstocks and technologies (energy crops, wood, and anaerobic digestion). A fourth report, Energy Flows and Carbon Emissions from Biomass Energy, provides an overview across all fuel types.

The use of local bioenergy brings significant economic and social benefits to an area. 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: BioPAD Socioeconomic effects

The second looks at the value chains associated with bioenergy to estimate the local benefits in Finland. You can view it here: Value chain of bioenergy and socio-economic contributions

The third used case studies to analyses local social and economic benefits in Ireland. The summary report is available here: Local Economic and Social Benefits

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. BioPAD carried out a survey of new business opportunities, and the subsequent report is available here: BioPAD New Business Opportunities Survey Report.

These reports can be found on the ‘Benefits of Bioenergy’ page

ROKWOOD SRC Information Seminar – Mullingar – Tuesday 11th November 2014

The Irish ROKWOOD Cluster (WDC, DIT and Biotricity) are hosting the 5th ROKWOOD partner meeting and in conjunction with this, are holding this evening information seminar to give the partners from Germany, Sweden, Poland, Spain and the UK an opportunity to share their experiences with those involved in SRC in Ireland.  Participants will have the opportunity to engage with the speakers in the discussion forum and informally during the seminar dinner.

The focus of the seminar will be SRC with a European perspective and will outline:

  • Overview of the aims of ROKWOOD project
  • Case Studies from European partner regions
  • Challenges to SRC development in Ireland
  • Case studies of experiences growing SRC in Ireland

The full programme for the seminar is below:

ROKWOOD SRC Information Seminar & Networking Session 11th Nov 2014

Register your interest in attending via email to or by phone to the WDC offices at +353 94 986 1881.  Closing date for registration is Thursday 6th November 2014.  While this event is free of charge, registration is required.

For additional information on the ROKWOOD Project visit

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).

Entering the bioenergy market can be daunting for individuals, and members of both the public and business sector. A key barrier for those wishing to procure heat (or energy) rather than fuel, for the first time is an understanding of the key procurement decisions required in the formation of an energy supply contract.

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.

An energy supply contract is sometimes referred to as an ESCO. However, the term ESCO can be confusing, as it has been used to mean different things. This acronym has been used for energy supply contracts, energy service contracts, energy supply company, energy service(s) company, and energy savings company. Here we deal with only energy supply contracts, and for the purposes of clarity, do not use the acronym in our report.   The full details are available in the report below:

BioPAD Model energy supply contracts – Oct 2014


Learning to solve problems in the bioenergy supply chain.

Six short pilot actions were prepared for the BioPAD project to highlight different issues and impediments to development of the sector along the bioenergy supply chain. The objective was to help find solutions to issues along the bioenergy supply chain for suppliers, support services and users.

Advice was provided to six pilot businesses on potential resolutions for their problems and strategies for the development of their enterprises by specialist bioenergy consultants. They provided information, advice and support to each pilot action client and prepared a short report on each describing the barriers to growth and options for overcoming them. More general learnings and options for tackling obstacles in bioenergy supply chains also formed part of each of the reports.

Supply chain pilot action cover


A BioPAD goal is to ensure that the advice and learnings from these projects is accessible to others in the bioenergy supply chain and that the advice is shared widely. The pilot action report aims to do this.

The report addresses the following issues:

  1. Converting a working animal feed mill to a wood pellet plant
  2. Large Building Upgrading/Replacing Biomass System
  3. Selling Heat from a log gasifier boiler
  4. Hotel Remote from Regular Supplies of fuel
  5. Teething Issues with a new Woodchip Boiler
  6. Haulage Firm Expanding into Wood Energy

You can see the pilot action report here: BioPAD Supply Chain Pilot Actions Final 23.09.14

Study of the local economic and social benefits of bioenergy

In May 2014 SLR Consulting Ltd was commissioned by the Western Development Commission (WDC) to conduct a study of the local economic and social benefits of bioenergy installations and their associated supply chains for the BioPAD project. The aim of this study was to measure and highlight where the employment from bioenergy occurs at a local level and to demonstrate the contribution that bioenergy development can make to rural and peripheral areas.cover shot

The research used a case study approach selecting eight examples working within the bioenergy supply chain. Data was gathered through literature review, telephone interviews and web search. This was then analysed in terms of economic and social impact, lessons drawn from the findings and conclusions presented.

The study was conducted at a time of change in the bioenergy sector in Ireland, with the Energy Green Paper (May 2014) and the newly announced Bioenergy Plan (July 2014). The Green Paper recognises the importance of realising the major opportunity that sustainable energy presents in terms of job creation and economic growth, whilst the Bioenergy Plan will put in place a number of policy and enabling actions to realise the potential of bioenergy deployment in Ireland.

The study identified that bioenergy makes a direct, focused and sustainable beneficial impact on the local economy within the rural parts of the WDC region in Ireland.  The case studies illuminated the complexity that lies behind the question ‘how does bioenergy impact on local economies’?

Typically investment is centred on equipment sourced from outside the region, with no immediate direct local benefit. However this then generates a decades’ long demand for biomass which creates local jobs and raises income in the area. Any given installation is likely to generate only a fraction of a job across the supply chain but developing installations in many, hospitals, supermarkets, clinics, factories, and offices would potentially create very significant local employment.Biomass-Pic aurivo crop

Realising this potential will require a number of specific weaknesses in different parts of the economic and social environment to be addressed. These range from developing forestry culture to encouraging innovative financial mechanisms that allow communities to participate fully in investment and retain profits that would otherwise flow away from the area in terms of interest payments and dividends. These can then be spent or reinvested locally. Success will be greatly magnified if progress can be made on all, or most, of these fronts as such comprehensive change will help transform attitudes to bioenergy, arguably the critical issue.

The summary of the full report can be seen here: Local Economic and Social Benefits- summary final 23.09.14

The BioPAD Story – E-zine Issue 6 – September 2014

On behalf of Western Development Commission (WDC), Action Renewables, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), and the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), we are pleased to announce the release of the sixth BioPAD e-zine.

Issue 6 is the final instalment of the BioPAD E-zine series, and provides a summary of the key outputs and successful achievements of the project. Since the start of the project in November 2012 BioPAD has sought to provide sustainable enterprise opportunities for individuals, communities and municipalities in Northern Europe through the use of renewable energy.

By assisting the development of local bioenergy supply chains BioPAD has helped unlock the potential of natural resources to the benefit of local economies, whilst enhancing fuel security and reducing CO2 emissions. The project has involved the creation of the bioenergy supply chain tool, BISCUIT, the implementation of bioenergy study tours and dissemination events, and the development of bioenergy policies besides other activities.

To read more about how BioPAD achieved its goals please access the latest edition of the E-zine: BioPAD_EZINE_Issue 6

Identification of New Business Opportunities in Bioenergy

A growing bioenergy sector offers new business opportunities. Viable and innovative businesses are also needed to keep bioenergy on a path of continuous development.

To help identify new business opportunities in bioenergy across regions of Northern Europe, we invite you to complete our survey.  In the survey, we provide examples of business opportunities already existing in some operational environments, to give an idea of what kind of businesses are possible, or have potential, but most importantly to inspire the development of new ideas.

Your comments should be based on your experience, knowledge and impressions and do not require research. We are more interested in your own impressions and opinions. Your input is invaluable in the sharing of knowledge of opportunities for the development of the bioenergy sector.

Please click here to access the survey.

EU looks to Canada in bioenergy

Former MEP and Green Party director Dr. Tarja Cronberg gave outlook of changing European energy policy at the Sustainable Energy Opportunities – seminar in Joensuu, Finland on 11th September. European Union Northern Periphery programme funded projects BioPAD and REMOTE organized joint seminar, where a high level picture of future perspectives was drawn.

Self-sufficiency, fuel security and renewability are all important factors in the EU and burnable fuels are needed especially in Northern Periphery regions.  Wood, biogas, waste, solar and wind are all needed to achieve sustainable energy portfolio for the secured future.

BioPAD goes to Finland !

The BioPAD team is off to Joensuu in Finland to attend the Final Conference for BioPAD and REMOTE on Thursday 11th of September. We are excited to hear about the results and outcomes of these two NPP projects. The conference has been organised around four interesting sessions:

  1. Overcoming barriers-real world bioenergy development
  2. Policy package
  3. Creating value within the Supply Chain
  4. Opportunities: sustainable energy in the Northern Periphery

Please feel free to check out the conference programme here: and register your interest here:

On day two of our Finnish trip, the BioPAD partners will attend the final partner meeting of the project to discuss and recap all the project outcomes and achievements, some of which include: A study on local socio-economic benefits and supply chain pilot actions; BISCUIT, the BioPAD Supply Chain Unique Integrated Tool; Bioenergy policy analysis for four different countries; Dissemination of the policy toolkits developed under RASLRES (a previous NPP project); Case studies from the four partner countries; BioPAD e zines. At our partner meeting we will also discuss the plans for BioPAD beyond 2014 taking the bioenergy agenda forward.

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