Thursday, March 31, 2016

Best European Practices Report published: how to establish Biomass Logistics and Trade Centres (BLTC)

Biomass Logistic and Trade Centres (BLTCs) are local or regional centres with optimised logistics and trading organization, where different woody bioenergy products (or heat) are marketed at standardised quality focusing on the domestic market uptake. The BLTCs as regional hubs will help increasing local supply and demand for woody bioenergy products.

BioRES project studied the best European practices to establish Biomass Logistics and Trade Centres (BLTC) in Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is leading the project WP2: European best practices of Biomass Logistic and Trade Centres (BLTCs). The recently published report about good practice examples analysed 11 examples of operating BLTCs from Austria, Finland, Germany and Slovenia. The SWOT analyses of business models were carried out in the stakeholder workshops in the implementing countries to evaluate the possibilities and limitations to transfer the business models.

- The role of Luke in the project is to support the project partners in the implementing countries, particularly with logistics of biomass procurement and technological solutions related questions. Transfer of Finnish knowledge and experience through training of local stakeholders in Bulagaria, Serbia and Croatia is very important for the successful realization of the project objectives, says research scientist and project manager Karri Pasanen of Luke.

47 Participants from Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria as well as project partners visited best practice examples of Biomass Logistic and Trade Centers (BLTCs) in Slovenia, Austria and Germany during a one week study tour 30th November – 4th December 2015. The program facilitated knowledge exchange between the stakeholders among the different countries. At the joint international workshop on the last day of the study tour lessons learned from the experiences of practitioners from the best practice countries and of key actors from Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria were identified. The participants discussed on what are key success factors for setting up new BLTCs and how it can be transferred to the three implementing countries avoiding mistakes and learn from failures.

Lessons learned & Key success factors for local market development of woody bioenergy and setting-up BLTCs were identified:

– Finding (political) support on local level is important
– Optimize locations (supply and demand in the same region)
– Transparency of business (prices, contracts, reliability) – price shouldn’t be the only factor
– Synergies with other industries should be created
– Several main pillars of BLTC business will help to be/stay successful, e.g.selling and providing heat (not just biomass), services for potential customers (about investment in boilers, etc.),connection with other industries and businesses (for example tourism).
– Being a local stakeholder helps to establish trust
– Be a pioneer and have new ideas (e.g. facilitated by EU projects with European know-how exchange)
– Extending supply chains (e.g. from private forest owners)
– Motivated members/staff will ensure success (maintenance, customer service and sales)
– Establishing trustful and long term cooperation among suppliers and customers and between energy market actors (also in difficult economic times) is crucial for ensuring economic success of BLTCs
– Costumer development has to be considered as a major activity in establishing the BLTCs. This includes larger costumers, such as district heating plants and smaller individual costumers
– Local businesses and potential BLTC investors need to invest in raising awareness about the benefits of woody bioenergy products
– Developing suitable business models which fit to the specific local condition and nature of the BLTC operator setting has a major impact for the success of new BLTCs.
– Specific solutions, such as public private partnerships, local district heating systems, or cooperative structure, provided participants valuable insights about a large variety of ownership models, business segments and market development.

The successful establishment of BLTC is a longer process requiring persistence, and it usually takes several years to achieve positive financial results.

The report and other BioRES project results can be found through the following link:

BioRES has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 645994.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recently started NPA project: ‘Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise’ (GREBE)

 What is GREBE?‘Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise’ (GREBE) is a new 3-year (2015-2018) transnational project with a budget of €1.77m to support renewable energy energy enterprises across the West of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Norway and Iceland.   It is co-funded by the EU’s Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) Programme. It 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.  The transnational project will be led by the Western Development Commission (WDC).

Why is GREBE happening?

Renewable Energy entrepreneurs working in the NPA area face challenges including a lack of critical mass, dispersed settlements, poor accessibility, vulnerability to climate change effects and limited networking opportunities are well recognised because of their peripheral location.  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. The renewable energy sector contributes to sustainable regional and rural development and has potential for future growth. 

Who will GREBE support?

GREBE will target and support start-ups and SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and recent graduates working in the renewable energy sector and based in one of the six participating partner regions of the project in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Norway and Iceland.  GREBE products and services will also be useful for existing organisations involved in renewable energy, local and regional authorities, business advisory organisations, as well as research and development institutes, technology groups, and universities and other educational institutes with an interest in rural economic development and/or renewable energy.

What will GREBE do?

GREBE will support renewable energy start-ups and SMEs:
·         To grow their business, to provide local jobs, and meet energy demands of local communities.
·         By supporting diversification of the technological capacity of SMEs and start-ups so that they can exploit the natural conditions of their locations.
·         By providing 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.
·         By providing 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.
·         To connect with other renewable energy businesses to develop new opportunities locally, regionally and transnationally through the Virtual Energy Ideas Hub.
·         By conducting research on the processes operating in the sector to improve understanding of the sector’s needs and make the case for public policy to support the sector.

How can GREBE be accessed?

Anyone working in the renewable energy sector can participate in:
·         Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (mentoring scheme for startups and small business).
·         Online training & networking platform where they can access project reports and guidelines. 
·         Virtual Energy Ideas Hub where they can share experiences and seek advice from other organisations in the renewable energy sector.

Other GREBE information will be available through the project website (under development) and from any of the project partners. 

Where is GREBE happening and who is running it?

GREBE will be operated by eight partner organisations across six regions:
·         Western Development Commission (Ireland)
·         Action Renewables (Northern Ireland)
·         Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (Northern Ireland)
·         North Highland College (Scotland)
·         Natural Resources Institute Finland (Finland)
·         Karelia University of Applied Sciences (Finland)
·         Narvik Science Park (Norway)
·         Innovation Center Iceland (Iceland)

 GREBEs project activities have already begun with our first partner meeting in November.  For updates on future opportunities, please contact Pauline Leonard (, or via our social media links below:

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Socio-economic impact studies: two new articles!

Socio-economic impacts of a local bioenergy-based development strategy – The case of Pielinen Karelia, Finland

Olli Lehtonen & Lasse Okkonen


DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2015.07.006

Full-text link until Sept 5th:

The regional bioeconomy has great importance for generating socio-economic impacts, especially in sparsely populated resource peripheries. The benefits include increased employment and income and improved security of supply. In this study, the modified regional input–output model of North Karelia, Finland is applied for analysing the socio-economic impacts of a bioenergy-based local development strategy. The results indicate significant socio-economic benefits of a local development strategy based on bioenergy. This benefit is corroborated by approximately 12 million euros in annual income impacts and 280 personnel working years in the district. New stimuli in a currently declining municipality could potentially break negative path dependency. New bioenergy and bioeconomic developments are promising solutions for the construction of place-based regional development in resource peripheries.

Socio-economic impacts of community wind power projects in Northern Scotland
Lasse Okkonen & Olli Lehtonen


DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2015.07.047

Full text link until Sept 12th:

The production renewable energy is a promising sector for social enterprises located in the remote northern communities of Scotland. Community wind power offers a way to generate resources to be reinvested in local development purposes, such as community businesses, social services and infrastructure and communications. In this study, a regional input output modelling is applied to the analysis of the socio-economic impacts of 11 wind farms of community-based social enterprises located in the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney (Figure 1). The results show significant socio-economic benefits of re-investing revenues for social purposes. For instance, strategic re-investments of revenues in local social services generate about tenfold additional employment and income impact compared with the impact of wind power production. Our socio-economic analyses find that community-based social enterprises are one promising solution for place-based regional development in the European northern periphery.

Figure: Locations of the community wind farms analysed.

Further information can be asked from the authors Lasse Okkonen (lasse.okkonen(at) and Olli Lehtonen (olli.lehtonen(at)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

INFRES, LogistEC and EuroPruning -seminar


Mobilization of woody biomass for energy and industrial use - Smart logistics for forest residues, prunings and dedicated plantations
– INFRES, LogistEC and  EuroPruning -seminar

Tuesday 19 May 2015, FAO Headquarters, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome

Improved logistics will help create a market for biomass feedstocks such as agricultural residues, forestry residues, and energy crops. In the three EU-funded projects INFRES, LogistEC and EuroPrunning 63 organisations and companies, collaborate to develop such smart logistics. They field-demonstrate practical solutions implemented in rural communities to harvest, store and transport lignocellulosic biomass for the production of bioenergy and biomaterials.

Further to developing technologies and adapting machines, the three projects also assess the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the proposed supply chains, as well as the barriers to innovation in the respective sectors.

The one day conference will showcase key results from the three projects. Participation of the conference is free of charge. Travel, accommodation and meals are at your own expense.

Deadline for registration is one month prior to the event latest 19 April 2015.


More information, program and registration form

Johanna Routa
Researcher, Energy solutions
Natural Resources Institute Finland
PO Box 68 (Yliopistokatu 6), FI-80101 Joensuu
Phone: +358 29 532 5045

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stakeholder's perceptions of bioenergy: global coverage and policy implications

HALDER, P., AREVALO J., MOLA-YUDEGO, B. GRITTEN, D. 2015. Stakeholders’ perceptions of bioenergy- global coverage and policy implications. In: Reddy BS and Ulgiati S (Eds.), Energy Security and Development – The Global Context and Indian Perspectives. pp. 377-391. Springer. ISBN: 978-81-322-2064-0. doi:10.1007/978-81-322-2065-7_25

Development of bioenergy systems is gaining momentum globally and bioenergy stakeholders are numerous and their perceptions are diverse. The study explored perceptions of bioenergy stakeholders by reviewing scholarly literature and complementing and validating them against primary data. The number of publications on stakeholders’ perceptions of bioenergy is increasing while geographical focus and stakeholder analysis vary considerably. Among the stakeholders, biomass producers, public, and experts are widely studied groups while the least explored are students and private developers. The majority of the studies have been conducted in North America and Europe, which indicate the importance of bioenergy in their energy policies and the role of stakeholders to influence bioenergy development in those countries. The study found that the stakeholders’ perceptions of bioenergy were not uniform and varied considerably even within a particular stakeholder group. More support for second- and third-generation biofuels is apparent compared to corn-based ethanol production. Factors such as age, gender, education, income level, and land ownership appear to influence stakeholders’ perceptions of bioenergy. The paper recommends raising awareness of bioenergy among different stakeholders and involving them while planning future bioenergy projects to improve their perceptions of bioenergy and reduce the chances of opposition. There is also a need for enhancing collaboration between renewable energy and educational policies so that young students become aware of bioenergy and can act as agents of change in our quest for renewable energies.

Springer [link]
ResearchGate [link]

Thursday, January 29, 2015

kW plus - new REMOTE App available

Renewable energy demonstration sites - kW Plus

The REMOTE project increases and supports local capacities in renewable energy solutions across the Northern Periphery area. Thereby, the “kW plus” compiles demonstration site experiences from partners across the Northern Periphery region.

The “kW plus -Renewable Energy Demonstration Sites, Handbook” is practical to use for establishing, developing and improving renewable energy demonstration sites. This guide does not give prescriptions on how to do things, but rather offers insights on what could be done, leaving everyone free to develop their own specific approach to work and business development. The "kW plus handbook" on demonstration sites can be found here.

NEW: A new mobile application on renewable energy demonstration sites, the "KW PLUS-App", is now available for selected REMOTE demonstration cases. The "KW PLUS-App" can be found on the REMOTE webpage within the "Application Package" or here.

More information on demonstration sites can be found from the webpage:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Luke brings together natural resources research in Finland

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) brings together uniquely strong and cross-discipline expertise in forest, agriculture and food industries, and game and fisheries in Finland. Since the beginning of the year 2015, the Natural Resources Institute Finland comprises the state research institutes MTT Agrifood Research Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, and the statistical services of the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Original press release can be found here.
More information can be found from the website: