Name / Title
RASLRES: Regional Approaches to Stimulating Local Renewable Energy Solutions
Case Study Region
West of Ireland
Roscommon, Mayo and Galway – additionally, Northern Ireland, UK; Scotland; Sweden; Faroe Islands and Finland.
Advice service; project; partnership
Main activity / focus
The RASLRES Project aims to design, pilot and publicise the best product services to create and sustain markets for renewable energy solutions in local rural areas.
Target beneficiaries / market
Those who may benefit from the RASLRES Project will be energy users in the public and private sectors where it may be feasible to use wood fuel heating systems in planned or existing buildings; farmers, forest owners and other potential fuel producers seeking to enter the wood fuel market; forestry contractors and others involved in planting, harvesting and processing of wood; haulage companies and others involved in delivery and supply of wood fuel; plumbers, engineers, electricians and others who can design and install and operate boilers/fuel handling and storage systems · development groups and public bodies such as County Councils who wish to support wood energy projects in their area.
Current Funding source(s)
The RASLRES Project is funded under the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP).
RASLRES is an international partnership which includes Western Development Commission – Ireland; Action Renewables – Northern Ireland, UK; Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College – Scotland; Municipality of Norsjö – Sweden; Oceanrainforest Ltd – Faroe Islands and VTT, Technical Research Centre – Finland.
RASLRES is an international project with several partners including the Wood Energy Sector within the Western Development Commission. In the coming two years the project will implement a range of advisory and support services to the wood energy sector in the Western Region with a budget of €1 million. The focus of the project in the West of Ireland will be in the development of 4 pilot projects which include the: ‘establishment of sustainable local loops of wood energy supply and demand via new (or existing) wood energy boilers; the development of local wood fuel supply from forestry; the identification of best practice approaches to support industry development; assistance in building critical mass and scale in the wood energy sector of the region and the supporting of investment plans and help secure project finance’.
Identification of the pilot projects will be based upon the development of a heat market profile and a wood fuel resource assessment thereby identifying ‘hot spots’ of potential wood energy activity. The WDC in association with its Wood Energy Support Team carried out this work early in 2010. The 4 selected pilot projects will secure tailored expert support to help develop them into commercially operational investments in terms of renewable heating schemes and or fuel supply chains. This support is provided free of charge and can include technical, business and financing assistance. Examples of the type of pilot projects are; a community led chipping and fuel supply business selling to local energy users or a district heating scheme in a town centre, village or connecting a group of residential, industrial or commercial buildings.
Participations in the pilot projects will ‘secure help and support from a consultant team in terms of wood fuel resource planning, boiler design and installation and engineering advice, business and cost planning and tendering and procurement. Additionally, the RASLRES project can offer limited direct capital funding and help participants secure other grants, loans and sources of capital funds to help deliver wood energy schemes in the region. The selection process and criteria to identify pilot projects will be based upon a number of factors such as: if the project is commercially viable and can be shown to have a good chance of implementation by the participant with the support of the project; ensuring the availability and sustainability of a viable wood fuel resource; the formal commitment of participants to an investment and development process; if the investment and development timescale can be within the 2010 or 2011; ensuring a good geographical spread of pilot projects; ensuring a good spread of project types, so that each pilot project is distinctive and promotes market development in a range of situations.
The RASLRES project officials in the Western Region will provide commercial and business development advisory and support services to participants in each pilot project, and carry out research, feasibility analysis and other tasks identified as necessary to meet the objectives of the pilot projects and the needs of the participating clients. The advice and support offered is commercially impartial and will be flexibly tailored to the needs of each participant. It can include a series of staged steps that help build up the project, for example, initial contact and pre-feasibility assessment. This will be undertaken through telephone and email contact and will establish if the project meets the basic criteria to become a pilot project. The project can offer simple advice on the viability of the project in technical and commercial terms at this stage or meetings and site visits to collect more detailed information on the nature and scope of the pilot project. This will confirm sufficient details to help develop the project in more detail. It may include an energy audit and project officials can also signpost participants to other areas of support in terms of renewables and energy minimization if needed.
Ms. Bernadette Phelan
Western Development Commission,
County Roscommon, Ireland
Phone:+353 (0) 94 9861441