Press Release Representing Renewable Energy Associations of Ireland

Eight organisations representing renewable energy in Ireland united today to call on Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD to set a target to supply 70 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030.

In June 2018 the European Union agreed that 32 per cent of the EU’s energy – across electricity, heat and transport – will come from renewables by 2030. Ireland’s share of that target will be negotiated with the EU in the coming months.

A comprehensive report from leading energy and utilities experts Baringa says it is technically possible and cost neutral to the consumer for Ireland to use renewable energy to supply 70 per cent of our electricity by 2030, which would go a long way towards reaching the EU target. A summary of the report can be found here.

It follows confirmation from the Climate Change Advisory Council in July that Ireland will miss its overall 2020 target for renewable energy, warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighting the failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comes as the International Panel on Climate Change meets in Korea.

In September the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action began meeting to respond to the calls from the Citizens’ Assembly earlier this year for Ireland to become a leader in tackling climate change.

Currently, approximately 30 per cent of Irish electricity comes from renewables and while Ireland will fall short of its overall 2020 target it is expected to still reach its 40 per cent electricity target.  

           Speakers: Dr John Fitzgerald (Climate Change Advisory Council), Des O’Toole (IrBEA President),

Marie Donnelly (Former Directorate General for Energy), Michael McCarthy (CEO of ISEA), Dr David Connolly (CEO of IWEA)

Read more

IrBEA and WDC invite you to a Biochar and Activated Carbon Conference in Mayo on 25th October

The Irish Bioenergy Association and the Western Development Commission invites you to a Biochar and Activated Carbon Conference in Mayo on the 25th October. This event will build understanding, raise awareness and help showcase the potential for carbon. Visiting partners from the RE-DIRECT project will present on installed technology at two sites in Germany and Wales.

This event is free but you do need to register for the conference. There is also an opportunity to join a Networking Dinner where you will meet with Conference Speakers and RE-DIRECT Partners, the cost is €40.00. Register for both here

For further information contact Stephen at stephenmccormack@wdc.ie

Conference Agenda

IrBEA Tour of Biomass Process and Heating Facilities

IrBEA plan to run a morning tour of biomass processing and heating facilities in Wexford on Wednesday 26 September. It will include visits to industrial and commercial biomass clients. Participants will be taken from Kilmokea Country House in Wexford and brought to 3 sites of interest followed by lunch and one 20-minute seminar with Q&A session. There will also be an opportunity to meet the IrBEA committee and other members.

Start :  Kilmokea Country House, Campile, Wexford
Agenda
09:00    Kilmokea Country House – Tea & Coffee – Bus departs at 09.30
09:40    Wexford Tomatoes, Horeswood Nurseries – (2MW load out is approx. 7.5GWh/pa)
Walking tour from Owen Power (Enerpower)
11.00     Clonroche Biomass Supply Facilities – Walking tour from Tom Sheehy (Clearpower)
12.30     Forest Park Leisure Park, Courtown – (0.55MW load out is approx. 1.5GWh/pa)
Walking tour from Owen Power (Enerpower)
02:30    Lunch & Talk at Kilmokea House – Maurice Ryan (Greenbelt) Presenting:
              Mobilising Biomass Supply from the Forestry Management Perspective
03:30    Finish- Optional complimentary short talk and entry to the organic gardens at Kilmokea House

IrBEA are partners in the RE-DIRECT project and in conjunction with this event IrBEA will have a representative available for discussion or one-to-one meetings about the concept of decentralised production of biochar and activated carbon from biomass residues at this event.

Tour Route

Update on Support Scheme for Renewable Heat from Energy Agriculture Event

IrBEA reported earlier in the month that Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) published the draft terms and conditions (including eligibility and sustainability criteria) for the Support Scheme Renewable Heat (SSRH). The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D. has welcomed the publication and commented.
The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a key measure to increase renewable energy in the heat sector and decrease emissions.  The scheme will also create new commercial opportunities for Ireland’s bioenergy and renewable heat industries.  The draft Terms & Conditions are designed to ensure that the heat generated under the SSRH will be sustainable, applied for useful purposes and represent value for money for the taxpayer, said Minister Naughten.

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat will financially support the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy for non-domestic heat users.  The scheme will consist of two types of support mechanism – an operational support for biomass and anaerobic digestion (AD) heating systems and an installation grant for heat pumps. IrBEA believes right now that the levels of support for biomass heating and for biogas appear unchanged from those indicated in December 2017. Furthermore, IrBEA understands from conversations with SEAI that SSRH will be available for all commercial applications – with no lower limit and that the budget for the scheme for biomass has been €18 million per annum for 15 years. 

Update on SSRH from Energy in Agriculture Event in August
Delegates and Exhibitors did hear an update from Ray Langton (SEAI Programme Manager of SSRH) this week at the Energy in Agriculture event, he confirmed that heat pumps will open for applications next month but they are still waiting for the state aid approval for the biomass side of the scheme and they hoped this will open before the end of the year. Ray talked through the application process which lined-up broadly into two categories, firstly online application procedures followed by inspections.
Online Application Guidelines
Online Application Portal
Project Assessment Application Form
Letter of Offer
Inspection
Project Installation and Commissioning
Project Inspection and Verification
Payment Stage and Contract
Ongoing Obligation
***************
Eligibility Criteria’s were discussed including eligibility of applicants, eligibility of heat, heat use in building, energy efficiency, heat technology, installation standards and project funding. He said all these criteria’s would be closely assessed in the application process before contracts were offered.
Ray Langton commented that the SSRH scheme is going to help meet 2020 targets and help bridge the gap by increasing the renewable heat target by 3% getting closer to 16% target set by the EU Directive. He hopes that the main beneficiaries are commercial, industry, agriculture, district heating, public sector and agriculture. In a Q&A session he commented that any grandfathering terms (biomass installations already completed) will be determined by State Aid rules and they will only be able to accept applications after the date set by EU regulators.

View Ray Langton’s Presentation from the day here

Report from Energy in Agriculture on the 21 August 2018

Several hundred farmers attended the annual farm energy open day, where according to journalist Thomas Hubert discussions swung between progress on Government support and continuing hurdles to renewable projects. Farmers and renewable energy professionals showed both eagerness for the imminent launch of support schemes and frustration at delays, the scheme itself has be promised for years and now many farmers are frustrated at the endless wait and planning bureaucracy  associated with connection to the national electricity grid. Along with an array of talks and presentations on renewable energy and schemes in the pipeline there was also several impressive demos including a Wind Demo, Solar PV Demo, Wood Mobilisation, and Anaerobic Digestion Demo. Padraic O’Neill, Noel Gavigan and Michael Doran all members of IrBEA management  presented at this event and we hope to make all the presentations available shortly.

       
WFQA Stand                                                                                     Box Media talk to Trish Lawlor on the IrBEA Stand          Denis Naughten talks with Owen Power  from Enerpower    Padraic O’Neill talks at the Biogas Demo

 

 

Ireland Way Off Course to Meet Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2020

At the publication of its Annual Review 2018, the Climate Change Advisory Council chairman Prof John FitzGerald said the policies being pursued to try to reverse Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were inadequate. Ireland cannot meet targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and is completely off the course if it wants to achieve other carbon reduction goals. He believes that in order to decarbonise the economy by 2050, Ireland needs to produce 1 million fewer tonnes of carbon per year, which would require a complete reversal of the current trend.
Prof FitzGerald said “the problem is there isn’t a policy framework” to try to reach the targets. There was a need to increase carbon taxes to drive alternative energy approaches but this required cross-party consensus in a Dáil where the Government did not have an overall majority is problematic. Responding to the report, the Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten said he shared the council’s frustration and that latest progressions on green house gas emissions were “deeply disappointing”. He said the transport and agriculture sectors and Ireland’s growing economy had “contributed significantly” to the increases but that the Government was “doing everything it can to ensure that we, as an absolute minimum, meet our 2030 target”. The council has called for an increase in carbon tax from €20 per tonne to €30 per tonne and Naughten has said the Department of Finance was finalising a review of the State’s carbon tax policy.

UK Retailers Could Face Limit on Sales of Wet Wood

Retailers could face restrictions on selling wet wood as a fuel for household heating, under plans announced by UK government this week (17 August) to tackle particulate air pollution. This is among the measures set out in a call for evidence, outlining further plans for legislation on the burning of solid fuels like wood and coal, following on from the launch of the government’s Clean Air Strategy this summer. According to Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, UK (DEFRA), the burning of wood and coal in the home is the largest single contributor to particulate matter pollution – and has been identified by the World Health Organization as the most damaging air pollutant. Domestic burning contributes 38% of particulate matter pollution, compared with 16% from industrial combustion and only 12% from road transport, it is claimed.
The consultation proposes a series of measures aimed at reducing particulate matter emissions from domestic fuel combustion, including restricting the sale of wet wood for domestic burning, applying sulphur standards and smoke emission limits to all solid fuels and phasing out the sale of traditional house coal. The government has said it will also ensure that “only the cleanest stoves” are available for sale by 2022.

Related links
-Air Quality News article in full here

Consultation on cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood 

Biomethane on the National Gas Grid – A First for Ireland’s Bio-Economy

In 2018, Gas Networks Ireland will introduce renewable gas onto the Irish gas network for the first time writes Pádraic Ó hUiginn. Renewable gas, also known as biogas or greengas, will be introduced into the Irish market as a means of further reducing emissions. As natural gas and biomethane are interchangeable, renewable gas can be used in the same way and in the same appliances as natural gas. Customers, business and domestic, would never be aware that the gas they are using is a renewable alternative. 
Gas Networks Ireland
is part of the Ervia commercial semistate company that owns and operates the national gas grid in Ireland and together with project partner NUI Galway,  it is leading the European Union co-funded Causeway project. Causeway, funded under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), will deliver a clean energy project for Ireland’s transport sector, and in doing so, provide a template for the rest of Europe. Full article here

Support Scheme for Renewable Heat – Proposed Terms and Conditions

SEAI have now published draft Terms and Conditions for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat. The levels of support for Biomass Heating and for biogas appear unchanged from those indicated in December last.

We also understand from conversations with SEAI  that

  • SSRH will be available for all commercial applications – with no lower limit.
  • The budget for the scheme is €18m per year for 15 years, the €18m budget is for biomass alone.
  • It is planned that the online portal for applications will be open in September, this will allow people to become familiar with the requirements.

IrBEA will be reviewing the terms and conditions and if required will formulate a response to SEAI. Should any members have comments on same please contact noelgavigan@irbea.org

Press Release: IrBEA on New EU Renewables Directive, “progress yes, but not seeing much drive in transport”

Statement from Irish Bioenergy Association 

The EU has upped the renewables target to 32% overall, and this gives plenty of incentive for progress in electricity, heat and transport, which is good. For the first time all solid biomass will have sustainability criteria requirements regardless of source, this will ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of biomass as a central renewable fuel. Also of note is the minimum greenhouse gas reduction requirements of 70% which will be applied from 2021 onwards, rising to 80% in 2026. The new regulations also set minimum efficiency levels for biomass power plants. 

The new transport sector sub-target for renewables is set at 14%, not a huge step-up from the current 2020 target of 10%. Double-counting will be allowed for advanced biofuels. This means one can use one litre of renewable fuel and count it as two. This means the target can be met numerically by achieving 7% renewables, with the consequence that another 7% of fossil derived liquid fuels need not be replaced in meeting the target – which you could argue defeats the purpose.

As for the optional 7%, this is reserved for crop-based biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel from grain, beet and rapeseed.  But a country cannot exceed the amount of this fuel that it was using in 2020, so if your country was at 4% crop-biofuels in 2020 it cannot go to 7% in 2030.  This may be better than the European Commission’s intention of cutting such biofuels to 3.8% but it’s disappointing when one considers the potential for EU sourced crop biofuels to safely and effectively contribute to climate action while at the same time providing EU farmers with secure farm income, lots more GMO-free and antibiotic-free protein feed (by product of the biofuels) and long term investment in rural communities. IrBEA is committed to ensuring that all bioenergy and all renewable energy sources are fully sustainable, we recognize and fully support the need for proper controls around sustainability – however placing a cap in 2018 on a target in 2030 in a technology sector that is advancing rapidly can only serve to stifle the much needed innovations over the coming decades. The challenge of lowering carbon emissions is one of the greatest challenges of society today, policy measures must encourage innovation as an absolute priority.

Digging into the targets set, if we take out double counting and optional contributions then the hard target for transport renewables is in actuality 3.5%, or less, which is no more than what Europe has today.  Factor in the steady 1%-3% growth each year in transport and we end up with significant net increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

One positive note, according to James Cogan of IrBEA’s transport team,  is that palm oil diesel will be phased out by 2030 under the Directive.  Palm diesel for the EU has resulted in many hundreds of thousands of hectares of peatland and forest being drained and burnt, sending vastly more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere than if the unknowing drivers had stuck to regular diesel.  And palm diesel does no good for farmers, feed or Europe’s rural economies.    Europe needs to improve its governance systems in the energy transition from fossil to renewables and the Directive is very light on this aspect. 

Lastly, and it may seem minor, but RED II was an opportunity lost for Europe to exclude countries which haven’t signed the Paris Climate Agreement from supplying energy into our transport markets, a measure which is good for climate action and good for Europe’s farmers and producers.  Any means for rectifying this before the final text is delivered would be warmly welcomed.