The Western Development Commission (WDC) is a statutory body promoting economic and social development in the Western Region which comprises the Irish counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare. The WDC works in cooperation with national, regional and local bodies involved in western development. The WDC are a partner in FREED www.freedproject.eu (Funding Resources for Innovaion in Energy Enterprise Development) a three-year project funded under Interreg’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA) which ends on the 31st December 2018. The project, which is led by the University of Oulu in Finland, is a collaborative partnership involving private investment firms, R&D institutions, colleges of education and public bodies from Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and, Germany.
The FREED project provides SME’s in the program area with the support network required to introduce and develop energy innovations which would otherwise be unavailable to them.
FREED is a five step process involving:
• A needs analysis of the types of energy innovations required in the partner region (refer to infographic below or visit www.freedproject.eu)
• A tender process to generate the necessary technology innovations (current)
• Partner R&D institutions with SME’s from the region
• Development of business plans to assist the SME’s in delivering the innovation in the region
• Provide a financing service that utilises private investment funds to aid the development of the innovations
FREED have identified four thematic Energy Innovation Needs & priorities that are common among the NPA regions. These priorities are:
1. Intelligent grid (IoT) proposals/solutions
2. Energy storage proposals/solutions
3. Smart and efficient buildings and environment proposals/solutions
4. Renewable energies solutions
The current call for proposals is open to innovations in all thematic priorities. Transnational partnerships are invited to submit their proposals