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European Commercial Wave Energy Technology Project Supported by EU

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Waves by Tony Hisgett via Flickr

The commercial development of new “WaveRoller” wave energy technology will be financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) under the InnovFin Energy Demonstration Project programme.

In its commitment to support innovative technologies, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will invest up to EUR 10 million in AW-Energy, a pioneering start-up company from Finland which developed “WaveRoller” wave energy technology. The investment will support and speed up the commercial roll-out of European wave energy technology. This is the first project to be supported by the InnovFin Energy Demonstration Project (EDP) programme.

EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, EIB Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori and CEO of AW-Energy John Liljelund signed the EUR 10 million agreement, which will foster a new and clean energy technology, in Brussels today.

EIB Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori said: “I think it would be hard to underestimate the importance of this type of pilot project that can open up untapped sources of clean energy. One of the goals of InnovFin is to support new technologies and the EIB is glad it can support this project through this instrument. The symbolic importance of a highly innovative Finnish company putting a project in place in Portugal makes this a truly European initiative.”

EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, added: “An investment in renewable energy technologies is an investment in Europe’s leadership of these new industries. We want to support renewable energy pioneers to contribute solutions to global climate change challenges, while generating employment and sustainable economic growth at home in Europe.”

AW-Energy’s CEO, John Liljelund, said: “This is a significant milestone not only for WaveRoller and the wave energy sector, but for the ocean energy industry as a whole, which is currently on the brink of a commercial breakthrough. As a constant and far more predictable form of renewable energy than wind and solar, wave energy will be a highly valuable addition to the global renewable energy mix. Bankable technology is the cornerstone when building a new industry. Having prestigious institutions like the EIB on board adds plenty of credibility to the equation.”

AW-Energy has developed a near-shore underwater device that converts wave energy into electrical power. In 2012, the company installed three 100kW demonstration units connected to the grid near Peniche, in Portugal. The strong support of the local community and municipality was essential for the project. Its progressive approach has placed Peniche on the world map as one of the most interesting wave energy hubs, attracting many wave energy developers.

The support of the EIB will help to keep the company firmly on the track of commercialisation of the WaveRoller®. AW-Energy is about to install a full-scale 350kW device in the same area of Portugal. The company has identified commercial leads in six countries and has the potential objective of selling more than 50 units in the four coming years. The project will also be financed by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

The Wave Energy Device project has the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020. InnovFin is a range of EIB Group products designed to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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