FREED (Funding Resources for Innovation in Energy Enterprise Development) is a transnational partnership project part-funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Programme to stimulate energy innovation in the Northern Periphery region. It is a three year project which started in January 2016, and will end in December 2018.
Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) hosted a FREED Energy Event at its Moylish Campus on Monday 25th June. The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity to promote the FREED Project in the region and to act as a networking event for energy entrepreneurs and investors to meet and explore potential collaboration and investment opportunities.
The event included case studies from SMEs Solo Energy, Cork; and Premier Green Energy, which is based in Thurles, Co. Tipperary; and presentations from Enterprise Ireland on the Innovation Voucher Scheme, Tony Treacy an Irrus Investor about what investors are looking for in a company seeking funding, and Denis Herlihy, BDO who briefed attendees on tax relief available for those engaged in research and development.
The FREED Project will develop a service for SMEs in the NPA region to access innovation in energy technologies otherwise not available within the NPA region. FREED will also facilitate the transfer of technology innovations to SMEs across the area. It will achieve this because it provides a unique access to private investment, which is key to stimulating innovation.
The project is a response to the growing need in Europe for technology innovation in the use of energy and its generation, storage, management and distribution. The well known problems concerning carbon emissions and climate change require different and more efficient methods of energy use. These will not be possible without innovation in technology and processes concerning the way we use energy. Nowhere are these problems felt more than in the cold and remote Northern regions of Europe, for which the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme is intended.
The FREED Programme for energy innovation is designed to work with innovation leaders in the region; those most concerned with energy innovation and those with the programmes and initiatives already in progress. FREED activity is designed to integrate its resources to enhance, accelerate and extend the impact of existing programmes to the benefit of rural communities in the NPA area.
The Lead Partner for the project is the University of Oulu, Finland. The other partners in the FREED project are: South West College, Northern Ireland; Western Development Commission, Ireland; Limerick Institute of Technology, Ireland; Green Angel Syndicate, Scotland; and the European Institute for Innovation, Germany.
Through the FREED Project, LIT has supported Cork based Solo Energy, a disruptive energy supplier utilising energy storage to offer low-cost renewable electricity supply to customers.
In August 2017, Solo Energy installed an advanced Li-ion battery system at Nenagh Library, linked into the existing roof mounted PV panels, all connected to a cloud based controlled network. Solo charges the Li-ion battery from the PV panels and discharges back into the library or back into the grid when renewable generation decreases.
Solo Energy’s Virtual Power Plant system delivers affordable, renewable and reliable electricity to all customers. The support from the FREED Project and LIT has allowed Solo Energy to refine their software algorithms and improve their predictive analysis. Working with LIT and the FREED Project raised their company profile and they are now working with ESB Networks on an exciting energy management project.
Pictured: Attendees and speakers with Dr. Liam Browne and Derek Blackweir of Limerick Institute of Technology which hosted the FREED Project Workshop.