In the wake of the Winter Package launched by the European Commission in November 2016, the European renewable energy association community came together to promote the #RenEUable initiative which shines light on one of the EU’s greatest achievements–its renewable energy industries–by showcasing their successes.
27.01.17 - 1.2m: What's powering local job markets in Namur and Grindavik
Namur, Belgium: A deeply-rooted job generator
Since 1983, STUV has created 120 direct jobs and many more among its subcontractors. The company produces 15.000 wood logs or pellet stoves per year and ships over 75% of its production throughout Europe. In 2006, the company installed its production of a new 5.000m² hall in the village of Bois-de-Villers, near Namur, Belgium. In 2008, the company expanded and built a 3.000m² Research & Development Centre and the prototype production workshop in Floreffe. STUV works with hundreds of installers who generate their own added value integrating the appliances in homes. In addition, the wood demand generated by STUV installations creates economic activities in the surrounding forests as well as the arrival of new local pellet producers and retailers.
Grindavik, Iceland: Thou shalt not waste the most precious resource
In the Icelandic Southern Peninsula, HS Orka has developed a unique business idea: a Resource Park for a society without waste. Two geothermal plants produce electricity and hot water, and excess resource streams then go to a diverse network of companies. The range of businesses in the Resource Park is incredibly varied, including the Blue Lagoon spa, cosmetics manufacturers, biotechnology companies and aquaculture. More than 500 jobs can be directly attributed to HS Orka’s Resource Park, in addition to other derived jobs. The park operates under the motto “Society without waste,” meaning that all the resources must be used responsibly and to their fullest extent for the benefit of the community.
20.01.17 - 91%: Germany gives power to the people
Ortenau, Germany: Energy co-ops yield interest
50 km south of Strasbourg, Germany's Energiewende is in full swing. In June 2016, the Südliche Ortenau civic wind farm emerged on the territories of the municipalities of Ettenheim, Schuttertal and Seelbach. The wind farm comprises seven modern 2.75 MW GE wind turbines with a hub height of 139 metres.
In a normal wind year, each of these turbines can power 2,000 households, and together they produce enough electricity to cover 30% of the demand in all three municipalities. Independent from volatile fossil fuel prices, locals can buy the generated power directly at a stable price.
Ownership and information are the cornerstones of a strong community. Events involved the municipalities early in the planning stage, and flyers and guided tours presented the construction phase. The local energy cooperative also gave communities the opportunity to become majority owners while just investing a very small amount. Depending on the option, investors can benefit from interest rates or dividends of 3% or more.
16.01.17 - 35bn: The leading role of European companies in the USA and Canada
Geothermal know-how, from Europe to the rest of the world
Europe is undoubtedly the number one in geothermal energy technology, which is being exported all over the world. A new trend, tested by Italian utility Enel Green Power, is to combine geothermal energy with other renewable energy technologies, making geothermal plants more efficient and sustainable.
Recently, Enel combined geothermal energy with hydropower in Cove Fort, United States to provide more electricity for the plant's operation. The innovation involves the installation of one generator in a reinjection well, which produces electricity from the falling flows of water previously used by the geothermal plant. The result is an unprecedented innovation that reduces operating and maintenance costs, while offering the opportunity to generate additional revenues.
The ground-breaking technology, the first in the world in such large scale, originates in Italy, where the phase of research and design took place. The company’s power plants around the world are in fact controlled by young Italian engineers working from the geothermal plants in the Italian provinces of Pisa, Siena and Grosseto.
EU tidal technology dominates Canadian developments
European technologies are the clear global leaders in tidal energy, and are well positioned to dominate the global market. Signs of this are already manifest: developments in the Canadian East-coast, an early non-EU market, are led by European turbine manufacturers.
The Bay of Fundy in Canada is home to the fastest tides in the world. On a flood tide, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow into the Bay of Fundy - more than four times the estimated combined flow of all the world’s freshwater rivers during the same 6-hour interval.
European companies such as DCNS/OpenHydro, Atlantis, DP Energy and Schottel are leading the deployment of tidal energy farms in the Bay of Fundy, exporting European technology and know-how.
Bever, Switzerland: ”Green” milk prevents greenhouse gases
What if we could radically reduce CO2 generated by industries, particularly from industrial heating processes? One of the highest-located dairy industry in Europe operates in Bever, Switzerland. The Swiss milk industry decided to invest in 115m² parabolic solar collectors, which generate around 70 MWh per year. The high-temperature system then converts solar energy into enough steam for all its dairy products. By doing this, the industry could reduce its CO2 emissions by 18 tonnes per year. Milk, butter and cheese from Bever not only makes you feel good because of its quality but also because it has been processed with fewer greenhouse gases thanks to solar thermal technology.
Hylke, Denmark: Fast track heat pump roll-out cuts more than emissions
In 2015, all heat pumps in European homes saved 24 Mt of CO2 emissions. Part of the savings came from Hylke, a town of 500 residents in Central Denmark. With an innovative business model, they successfully managed to phase out their oil consumption with approximately 30% in one year.
The city decided to replace a series of oil-fired boilers with smart low-maintenance heat pump solutions. The installations measure and log electricity consumption and heat production every 5 minutes. Private households and local business owners followed the example.
Until now, Hylke has cut its annual CO2 emissions by 100t and its annual heating bill by more than €20.000. Half of the savings coming from the local school, allowing using the money for a better cause.
The project is fully applicable to other cities and public-private partnerships with other municipalities are emerging.
Lille, France: Recycling infrastructure investment powers local bus fleet
Recycling organic urban waste enables cities and municipalities to attract green investment, create local jobs and produce renewable energy. This is the case of Lille’s metropolitan area in northern France that has one of Europe’s most advanced recycling systems.
The core element of this facility is Lille’s Centre for Organic Recovery, a €54m infrastructure investment which treats 108.000 tonnes a year of organic waste from households, hospitals and parks. This investment significantly improved the overall economy of the city in several ways. The energy bill of the waste facility was reduced by using the energy produced on-site. 100 city buses are powered each year with the 4,11 million m3 of biomethane produced by the facility. In addition, a new revenue stream is generated by selling 34.000 tonnes of compost to local farmers to fertiliser their fields.
Caithness, Scotland: Driving investments in tidal energy
Tidal energy is driving investment in European technologies and projects. One such project is MeyGen - the first multi-megawatt tidal farm in the world. The project’s developer, Atlantis Resources, has raised over €60m to finance its first development phase, which is now delivering power to the UK electricity grid.When completed, the full MeyGen project 398MW will produce enough power for 175 000 homes. Such projects are a significant opportunity for commercial debt and equity providers to invest in Europe’s energy transition.In 2016, Equitix, a €2bn fund management outfit, announced a partnership with Atlantis Resources, which would see them acquiring a 25% stake in each of Atlantis’ Scottish projects, representing an investment commitment in the hundreds of millions of euros.
Guadix, Spain: Creating jobs with thermal power
Solar thermal power plants provide considerable numbers of skilled jobs during both their construction and operational phases. The Andasol 1 and 2 power plants, a 100 MW solar thermal power station located in Andalusia in Spain, created about 500 jobs per plant during the construction stage. Today, it employs 50 full-time staff, and will continue to do so throughout the entire project lifetime. With the right policy support, Europe’s STE (solar thermal electricity) sector can generate 160,000 jobs in Europe in engineering, manufacturing and construction, plus further indirect employment.
Hull, UK: How a town in decline re-energised itself
Like many seaports, Hull has a proud history. Shifts in the global economy however led to deindustrialisation and rising unemployment. This changed a decade later. In March 2014, Siemens and Associated British Ports announced that they would jointly invest £310m into two wind turbine production facilities in the region. The Green Port Hull takes advantage of the offshore wind opportunities in the North Sea and established a world-class centre for emerging renewable industries. The Green Port Growth Programme supported over 300 local companies, 400 employees and 600 apprentices in getting a skilled job with energy, manufacturing and engineering firms. The number of green jobs in the region climbed to 1,000, turning one of the UK’s poorest towns into a bustling hive of commercial activity. The operation of the Hull plant begins next week and recruitment is ongoing.
Kaunas district heating network, a step towards energy security
Kaunas Energy, the second largest heating company in Lithuania, is increasing energy security by shifting to renewable district heating networks. Kaunas Energy, supplies 20% of Lithuanian heat through services to municipalities' district heating networks displacing Russian gas. The district heating system of Kaunas provides heat to 118,000 people, operating three biomass boilers for a total capacity of 70 MW, corresponding to the use of 218.000 tons of wood chips. The biomass-based boilers of Kaunas Energy are expected to produce 480 GWh of thermal energy per year, thereby avoiding the use of a significant quantity of gas and oil annually. For a country like Lithuania, the close proximity to Russia makes being energy in dependent essential. Bioenergy provides an alternative to Russian gas imports.
Marstal, Denmark: Improving energy security by combining renewables
Solar thermal technologies have already shown they can drastically reduce gas dependency on a large scale. In Marstal, Denmark, a hybrid project combining solar thermal with other RES technologies is suitable to fully cover a district heating needs and serve 1460 people. In 2014, this project had already replaced the equivalent of 1 200 000 m³ of natural gas , which represents the volume of 48 Olympic-size swimming pools. Similar projects are being built all over Denmark: a great step toward less dependency on our fossil fuel imports.
Do you have local renewable energy success stories? Send them to us or promote them with the hashtag #RenEUable.
The Campaign is supported by the following renewable energy industry associations: