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What's New?

Some of the text comes from: Sustainable Energy Ireland Information Office and other places.

Bad news in the budget 2011 for renewables and worse to come in budget 2012     

The long wait is over, back to stone age.

Sun Lowers Heating Costs         

Peak Oil 2005?

Beam Hill to press button in New Year

N-Ireland farmers turn to biomass

ESB to seek significant price increases

Proposal for a Carbon Energy Tax in Ireland 

The application of carbon energy taxation

Record Numbers Visit Energy Show 2004 

Irish Wood Energy Market Heats Up

Heat to Energy: Future Technology with Immense Potential

2004 Budget & Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Ireland Energy Systems

Solar Energy Ireland Energy Systems

Wood has been used for fuel for thousands of years - and in a world where we are trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, wood is also a carbon neutral fuel. Yet today in N. Ireland it is uncommon to find business premises heated by wood fired stoves or boilers.

The infrastructure for a biomass industry in N. Ireland is gradually coming into place.  Balcas, one of the main timber producers in Ireland has commissioned a wood pellet plant, capable of producing 50,000 tonnes of fuel per year So, why not take advantage of this new locally produced fuel? As an incentive NIE, in partnership with Invest NI and Balcas, is offering grant assistance to a limited number of commercial and industrial applications to support Northern Ireland ’s newest renewable fuel - Balcas Brites wood pellets.

  Assistance is available for the installation of wood pellet fired stoves and boilers installed by registered companies and equipment suppliers listed under the Clear Skies programme which can be accessed from: www.clear-skies.org

  Grants available:

Type of installation     Size    NIE grant available   
 Wood pellet room heater

 i.e. stove      N/A     £850  
 Wood pellet boiler or

 stove with back boiler  15 – 30 kW      40% of installed cost*

 capped at £2,000      
 Wood pellet boiler or

 stove with back boiler  31 – 100 kW     40% of installed cost*

 capped at £5,000      
* installed cost covers boilers, installation and fuel store, but not radiators or hot water storage

For more information and an application from visit: www.niesmart.co.uk/woodpellets.htm

And to get you started Balcas are offering half a tonne of Balcas Brites pellets free with the installation of each stove, and one tonne of pellets free with the installation of each boiler! Visit: www.balcas.com

  Further financial assistance is also available in the form of an interest free loan for eligible companies from Invest NI through the Carbon Trust Energy loan scheme Tel: 0800 58 57 94, or visit www.thecarbontrust.co.uk

Sun Lowers Heating Costs  

Due to the current interest rate reduction of the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW) for solar credits to rates starting at 1.4 percent as well as rising heating costs, the costs for heating modernisation in connection with the installation of a solar heating system are currently being amortized even faster. (in Germany)

With simultaneous heating restructuring and installation of a solar system, heating costs can be reduced as a general rule by 30-50%, according to the Solar Economy Business Union e.V. (UVS) (German). This would save 1,000 liters of oil per year.

Peak Oil 2005?

The point at which the highest possible oil output is reached and after which the production never again reaches the same standard is called "Peak Oil" in English-speaking expert groups. The pessimists within these experts suspect that the year 2000 was already “ Peak Oil”, while more optimistic evaluations believe it will be 2005 or later.
“Peak Oil“, along with a decline in oil and gas promotion, implies an increase in oil prices. What will indeed rise, however, are worldwide energy needs…

In order to escape this vicious circle, alternative energy sources are being sought.


Beam Hill

Irish developer John Gillespie has broken ground on his 14MW Beam Hill project near Buncrana in north-west County Donegal in a bid to go live by January 2005. Roper Enterprises started civil work on the eight-turbine project this month ahead of the arrival of Vestas 1.75MW machines towards the tail end of this year. The project near the existing Drumlough Hill wind farm will sell power under the Sixth Alternative Energy Requirement. A connection offer to the distribution system is already in hand. ESB Contracts will provide electrics for the €14 million farm while the necessary grid work from ESB Networks is scheduled to progress in parallel with the development. Gillespie is close to wrapping up work on a second 5.1MW farm, this time at Mount Eagle near Castleisland in County Kerry. A half-dozen Vestas 850kW machines are due on site in the near future with the vast majority of civil and electrical connection work already completed.

N-Ireland nurtures biomass

Northern Ireland farmers are being encouraged to plans short-rotation coppice under a £2 million plan to boost biomass. NI Agriculture Minister Ian Pearson has launched the Challenge Fund to “enable landowners to come forward with competitive tenders for the establishment of SRC, which will allow us to select high-quality projects offering good value for money”. Applicants must plant three hectares and have an end-user.

ESB to seek significant price increases
The ESB is to apply for a significant rise in electricity prices because of sharp increases in global oil and coal prices in recent months. 

The company said that, on the basis of oil prices alone, a double-digit increase would be required to keep the company on an even keel.

The ESB's Chief Executive, Padraig McManus, has said the company would be telling the electricity regulator, who decides on any prices rises, that a mechanism has to be created so that customers would benefit if fuel prices come down.

However, the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern, said that a profitable company like the ESB should look for efficiencies within the organisation, rather than a price rise.

Mr Ahern said the decision on the price rise would not be up to him, but that this was his view.

Proposal for a Carbon Energy Tax in Ireland
Ireland, along with all other EU States and many other countries, signed the Kyoto Protocol which is an international agreement for participants to limit growth in greenhouse gas emissions. As an aid to meeting its commitments under the Protocol to limit emissions of greenhouse gases to an average of 13% above 1990 levels per annum in the period 2008-2012, the Government published its National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS), in November 2000. This sets out a ten year framework for achieving the necessary greenhouse gas emissions levels required to ensure that Ireland complies with the Kyoto Protocol.

In brief, a range of measures across all sectors of the economy and society as set out in the Strategy is intended to achieve a reduction of over 15 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Within this overall target figure, the Strategy makes provision for a non-specific contribution to be made from ‘appropriate tax measures, prioritising CO2 emissions … across a broad range of sectors in a manner that takes account of national, economic, social and environmental objectives’.  It is in this context that the proposal for the introduction of a carbon energy tax has arisen.   

The Minister for Finance indicated that because of the many and varied implications of such a tax, there would be full consultation with interested parties on the design of the tax and there would be a reasonable lead-in period to its introduction. This paper is designed to facilitate this consultation.

The application of carbon energy taxation
The premise underlying a carbon energy tax is that taxation would be applied according to the carbon content of affected fuels i.e. those (fossil) fuels that produce CO2. CO2 also arises from a variety of industrial processes. However the focus of the proposed tax will be on energy related CO2 emissions. The main fuels concerned are peat, coal, oils (including petrol and diesel) and natural gas.

While these fuels produce different amounts of CO2, they can be compared fairly by converting them into a common unit, the TOE or ‘tonne of oil equivalent’ an international standard measure of energy value. On this basis, fossil fuels produce CO2 emissions as follows:

Fuel Tonnes of CO2 emitted (per TOE)
Peat                                       4.14
Coal                                       3.96
Oil                                          3.18
Auto Fuel                               2.9-3.05
LPG                                         2.66
Natural Gas                             2.3

Accordingly, because peat produces more CO2 than, say, oil, taxation would be applied proportionately i.e. in this case at a ratio of about 4:3. The same rationale would apply across the range of fuels involved.

The following table sets out a range of possible taxation rates per tonne of CO2 and the implications of each one of these for the range of fuels concerned.

Table 1: Tax (€) (excluding VAT) per TOE corresponding to various rates per tonne of CO2 *. Based on conversion rates in paragraph 5.2 and revised from figures shown in TSG papers.

Rate per TOE







€ 31.05

€ 41.40

€ 62.10

€ 82.80

€ 103.50


€ 29.70


€ 59.40

€ 79.20

€ 99.00

Auto Fuel

€ 22.88

€ 30.50

€ 45.75

€ 61.00

€ 76.25


€ 23.85

€ 31.80

€ 47.70

€ 63.60

€ 79.50


€ 19.95

€ 26.60

€ 39.90

€ 53.20

€ 66.50

Natural Gas

€ 17.25

€ 23.00

€ 34.50

€ 46.00

€ 57.50

The proposals would involve new taxes on natural gas, coal and peat and additional taxes on the other products.
The resulting effect on the retail price of each rate of tax for the various carbon energy products is set below.

Table2: Retail fuel price increases (including VAT) for different tax rates.


Record Numbers Visit Energy Show 2004

A record number of participants and exhibitors from across Irish industry took part in the Energy Show 2004, which was held in the RDS on May 12th and 13th. Organised by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), the theme of the show this year was "putting Ireland on the path to a lower carbon economy". According to Sustainable Energy Ireland, this year saw a 30% increase in visitor attendance at the Show, which had over one hundred exhibitors and at which a series of workshops on renewable and sustainable energy technologies were hosted over two days. The Show highlighted ways in which Irish business and industry can effectively reduce overall energy demand through energy efficiency measures, and meet a greater proportion of that demand from renewable resources. It also proved to be an excellent opportunity for customers and suppliers of sustainable energy technologies to meet and transact business. The show was officially opened by Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern, who earlier this year called on industry to improve their energy management as Ireland gears up to reduce CO2 emissions. An important element of the Energy Show were the workshops and free briefing sessions. The Bioenergy workshop focused on biomass heating. Energy consultants from Austria and Sweden gave an overview of wood pellet stove and boiler (Kuenzel boilers) heating for domestic and commercial space heating markets. Karl Heinz Lesch of Conness, outlined the business model of an energy service company (ESCO) in biomass heating.


Irish Wood Energy Market Heats Up

The first wood heating installations around the country have started a momentum among potential heat customers and companies interested in getting started in this new business. Wood heating of large buildings is a significant market in Ireland, as more than half of a building’s energy goes on heating alone. Buildings in the residential and service sector (including commercial and public buildings) account for 43% of Ireland’s total primary energy requirement. This sector is also the largest electricity user. In a similar sized market such as Austria, 8000 new wood heating systems are installed in the building sector each year. The residential housing market has an annual energy use of 7 million tonnes of oil equivalent and an annual spend of €1,500 million. Potential customers in the large buildings sectors (schools, hotels and hospitals) now have the option of choosing high quality, automatic wood heating. Wood fuels are competitive with oil and electricity heating and are a secure and sustainable supply source for the future. Automatic wood pellet and wood chip boilers are now providing space heating and hot water at office buildings at Laois Sawmills, Natural Power Supply in Waterford, Coillte in Wicklow and at Camphill Community Centre in Jerpoint, Co Kilkenny. The Camphill Community at Jerpoint, for people with special needs, looked at replacing their oil boiler with a wood chip boiler that would heat all of the residential buildings on site. The project developed from start to finish in nine months. Austrian boiler manufacturer, Froling was chosen as the supplier of the 150kW wood chip boiler. The Camphill boiler house was constructed with

adjacent storage for 25 tonnes of wood chip fuel. Dry clean wood shavings from a local joinery are readily available (up to 1 tonne per week). The boiler can even take fuel with a high moisture content of up to 40% and can easily be adapted to wood pellets. The boiler is fully automatic. The performance and emissions data is monitored remotely and the data is sent by modem to the Froling service department in Austria. Local technical support is available by telephone to the Irish agents, Powertech Ireland who assisted with the installation as part of their training. The installation was part-funded by Sustainable Energy Ireland’s Renewable Energy RD&D programme. Natural Power Supply Ltd., based in Waterford installed their first Biomass Boiler and Mini District Heating System in December 2003. The boiler installed is a 70kW Binder manufactured in Austria and heats the office complex for 20 staff and an adjacent country house. The boiler can run on pellets or wood chips, and is currently fuelled by short rotation coppice willow chips. This installation was part-funded by Barrow- Nore-Suir Rural Development. Natural Power Supply’s Managing Director, Mr. James Kennedy, said that “Heating offices, schools, hospitals and other buildings with wood chips is now viable in Ireland. With a secure supply of locally grown fuel, the fuel cost will not be affected by increasing world oil prices.” In addition to producing and selling fuel from renewable sources to generate heat, Natural Power Supply provides a complete installation package for a range of European wood boilers. CONNESS is an energy service company (ESCO), offering services in the area of sustainable energy and energy efficiency. CONNESS distributes Austrian manufactured wood heating boilers KWB (10-150kW) and pellet stoves from RIKA (2-12kW). A special feature of the RIKA stoves is that they can be switched on remotely by phone. CONNESS has installed a 15kW KWB wood pellet boiler at Laois Sawmills, Portlaoise and a 100 kW KWB pellet/chip heating system at the new headquarters of Griffner-Coillte in Wicklow. You can now order your wood pellets online at the newly launched website of Galtee FuelsLtd.  who also offer wood pellet stoves and automatic pellet boilers.Wood briquettes are readily available through garage forecourts and fuel merchants from Czech Direct,a Kerry-based procurement firm.  Since setting up business last year, Celtic Flame, has seen phenomenal interest in its range of Canadian Enviro wood pellet stoves. Celtic Flame took part in the Spring Homes and Gardens and Self Build shows recently and displayed stoves for room and hot water heating. Celtic Flame also imports wood pellets from Canada. All that wood and we still have to import the stuff from Canada. Mad cow, or mad man?.


Heat to Energy
Thermal photovoltaics (TPV) is an energy conversion procedure in which thermal radiation in special photovoltaic cells is transformed directly into electric energy. Particularly noteworthy are the very high power densities in proportion to photovoltaic.  Thus, while a solar cell the size of a postcard can produce around 1.5 W in the sunlight, a thermal photovoltaic generator of the same size could theoretically produce 300 to 500 W! Within the framework of “CLEAN ENERGY POWER® 2005”, the Conference for Thermo-photovoltaic: Science to Business will take place for the first time on January 27, 2005, in the International Congress Centre (ICE) in Berlin.  It will provide an overview not only of the research development, but also of potential areas of application. More information about thermal photovoltaic is available at the Paul Scherrer Institute and at www.energie.ch (German).


2004 Budget On Renewable Energy
The Financial Act 2004 had two items of particular interest to renewable energy:
Relief 486B for investment in renewable energy is extended to 31st December 2006 Biofuels are exempt from mineral tax



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© Solar Energy Ireland 2003