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Ulster Drives Forward Renewable Energy Debate

16 May 2011

The University of Ulster is encouraging small and medium sized businesses to use renewable energy in a bid to reduce costs and increase revenue. <

In a week when Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change research concluded that close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by 2050, the University of Ulster has hosted a conference to encourage the increased usage of renewable energy in Northern Ireland.

Experts from across the province convened to alert the organisations in attendance to the options available, for both selecting an appropriate technology and how to finance it.

The day-long event, organised by David Hanna, researcher at the Ulster Business School, took place at the Templeton hotel in Templepatrick and included presenters from Action Renewables, Carbon Zero, Colum McAuley Builders, Northern Bank Ltd, Invest NI and Davis Langdon.

The presenters covered a range of technologies such as ground source heat pumps, anaerobic digestion, biomass boilers, wind turbines and solar panels, giving ample information for the organisations in attendance to learn more about each. For those that were interested in installation, the panel provided information on funding, tax incentives and advice on how to apply and benefit from the options available.

Dr Norry McBride from the Ulster Business School explained that “organisations typically think that renewable energy requires grants to be economically viable. This conference highlighted that renewable energy can be funded using different financial models in order to gain considerable savings and a return on capital employed in the early years of investment”.

The MicrE conference, which is an Interreg funded European Project with the aim of promoting the usage of waste product in the production of renewable energy. The project has been running for two and a half years and the conference acted as a platform to disseminate some of the findings.

One MicrE case study was demonstrated whereby the householder was saving over £5,000 per year, just by switching from oil fired heating to a log fuelled boiler.

Before the conference concluded, the attendees were asked to contribute some of their own experiences in an effort to further the MicrE cause. Data was collected on the participant’s experiences and opinions on the help available, and feedback will be presented to the policy makers as part of MicrE’s efforts to improve the energy landscape.

The conference was hosted by the Ulster Business School and Office of Innovation Knowledge Club..

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