Derry City & Strabane - The Renewable Energy Network (REN NET)




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The Renewable Energy Network (REN NET)


Project: The Renewable Energy Network (REN NET)
Lead Implementing Council: Donegal County Council
Partners: North West Region Cross Border Group (Lead Partner), Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Magherafelt District Council & Strabane District Council
Amount Awarded: €406,247 (€390,047 Grant / €16,200 Business Contribution)
Timeframe: 1 March 2012 – 31 May 2015

The aim of the REN NET project is to establish a network of small and micro businesses in the North West cross border region that are engaged in and wish to grow the renewable and green sector of their business. Launched in April 2013 the project has seen 58 businesses from across the 5 Council areas sign up to take advantage of programme activity.

Activities included the holding of a successful joint tradeshow in Letterkenny in November 2014 which attracted a wide range of customers. Attendees received advice from exhibitors on innovative solutions to help them save on their energy bills and financial advice about available grants. Almost thirty members attended a study visit to the Baronscourt Estate in Newtownstewart in February to witness practical applications of renewable energy.

Seventeen REN NET Members attended the World Sustainable Energy Conference in Austria. This is one of the largest conferences in the field in Europe and is attended by experts from across the world. Members had opportunities to meet with leaders in the sector and engage with like minded businesses.

They also met with the Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies (CREST) in Sligo, which has offered to assist participating companies with the development of products and with research and development activities. 

Links have been made with the new Engineering and Renewable Energy Department at University Ulster Magee. Project members undertook a study trip to Scotland in 2014 to attend the “All Energy Conference” in Aberdeen. There they visited the Banchory Biomass Energy Centre, to examine potential for biomass district heating systems.

Training Consultants WESTBIC have now been appointed to deliver a number of short courses to the participant companies in areas such as use of social media, tendering and marketing, as well as business mentoring. The learning helped businesses with their development, business skills and encourage joint tendering for larger projects. 

The REN NET network is additional to and signposts small and micro businesses to connect with other networking activities also taking place through the work of DETI, Enterprise Ireland and such enterprise agencies as the Donegal Local Enterprise Office and Invest Northern Ireland. The project aims to help develop the domestic renewable energy sector, in order to ensure small and micro businesses in the North West Cross Border Region gain profitability and productivity from opportunities in this growing area.

The project website can be viewed at

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