Joint Press Release – From Gurteen College and the Irish Bioenergy Association

New Bioenergy Training Course for farmers: Gurteen College and IrBEA combine

Immediate Release: 17th January 2023

A new bioenergy training course for farmers will start on Friday 20th January 2023. It will be run as a collaboration between Gurteen College and the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA). The project is made possible by funding from the National Just Transition Fund for the wider Midlands region and Gurteen College and IrBEA’s agreement to deliver it jointly.

“This is a pivotal time for farming and climate action, and we are delighted to partner with the Irish Bioenergy Association to bring in its bioenergy technical knowledge and market development expertise for the delivery of this course. It reflects our ongoing delivery of sustainability in farming programmes for our students, and it will play an important part in the Just Transition for the wider Midlands region,” commented Gurteen College Principal, Mr Jon Parry.

A collaborative learning approach is a key part of our ethos here at Gurteen, and in this case, collaborating with IrBEA means that we can broaden and deepen the level of knowledge and expertise that the Bioenergy Training Course can access and offer to our students”, added Mr Parry.

IrBEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Seán Finan commented that this course is an exciting opportunity for farmers interested in bioenergy, regardless of their previous level of knowledge or expertise in it:

“Sustainability, energy and new income opportunities are very much at the core of discussions both about farming generally and amongst farmers themselves. This new Bioenergy Training Course offers the whole spectrum of farmers an opportunity to learn more about sustainable bioenergy, and the different ways it can contribute to farming, the economy, and our communities and environment”, stated Mr Finan.

Mr Finan went on to say that: “We are delighted to have arrived at this point where this exciting training opportunity for farmers is about to start, and look forward to delivering this collaboration with Gurteen College. We have been pleased to collaborate with Gurteen College on some other initiatives to date, and we look forward to the new Bioenergy Training Course being a great success. I want to thank Jon Parry, Gurteen College’s Principal, its Course Co-ordinator, Niall Finnegan and our own Co-ordinator for this course, Pádraic Ó hUiginn for his role in enabling it to get up and running.”

The course delivery will involve a mix of lectures, demonstrations and site visits. Topics covered will include: bioenergy, an overview; energy crops and solid biomass; gaseous bioenergy: biogas and biomethane; costs and budgeting; liquid biofuels, biochar, and bioenergy’s role in building sustainable biomass supply chains. There will also be a day tour as part of the course.

Gurteen College has 75 years of experience of agricultural teaching and training. IrBEA represents the broad remit of bioenergy, across the island of Ireland, since 1999. The bioenergy training course will run for one day a week for six weeks, with the possibility of some additional modules emerging from the discussions and learnings on the course. A team from IrBEA and Gurteen College will jointly deliver the course. The course will be provided on a funded scholarship-type basis. On-site attendance and participation at Gurteen College is required, where meals will be provided. The course promises to provide an exciting combination of Gurteen College’s farming and agricultural expertise and IrBEA’s bioenergy expertise, including support to bioenergy enterprise and market development. For farmers, there will be a particular focus on knowledge transfer in relation to sustainable energy crop production and anaerobic digestion.

                          

“We are looking forward to welcoming back some former students and meeting some new students, who have already committed to the Bioenergy Training Course. There has been a lot of interest in it. We have a very small number of places still available, so if you are genuinely interested, and can commit to attending for the full duration, please get in touch with us to book a place by telephoning 067 21282 or by emailing with your name and phone number to info@gurteencollege.ie. Places will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, with a waiting list operating after that”, said Mr Niall Finnegan, Bioenergy Training Course Co-ordinator at Gurteen College.

“This is an excellent opportunity for IrBEA to share knowledge and raise awareness amongst key stakeholders of the opportunities in bioenergy and also in the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project to help build up bioenergy supply chains”, stated IrBEA’s co-ordinator for the course, Mr Pádraic Ó hUiginn.

“It will also be interesting to hear the insights and questions that the students themselves will bring to the Bioenergy Training Course, with the discussions within the modules being a key part of the course’s learning approach”, concluded Mr Ó hUiginn.

The Bioenergy Training Course is facilitated through Gurteen College’s lead role in the Producing and Promoting Green Energy project, and IrBEA’s delivery of the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project, each funded by the National Just Transition Fund.

ENDS

 

Climate Action Plan lacks recognition for the immediate role and potential of bioenergy – IrBEA

For Immediate Release:

22/12/2022

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is disappointed and concerned that the Climate Action Plan published yesterday does not adequately recognise the immediate and broad role of bioenergy in achieving Ireland’s ambitious climate action targets. The plan risks ‘putting all our eggs in one basket’ on energy security and decarbonisation. The plan is at odds with the evidence provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These international experts, across several recent reports, including the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, state that to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, that the use of feasible renewable technologies, including bioenergy, needs to be rapidly expanded in the short term.

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said: “Bioenergy gets just one mention in the overall climate action plan published yesterday. The plan fails to recognise the significant immediate role and contribution that bioenergy can make to emissions reduction, renewable energy targets and the broader environmental and economic benefits that bioenergy can deliver. The different bioenergy sectors including solid biomass, biogas/biomethane and liquid biofuels do not feature adequately enough in the plan. The recognition of their immediate potential, as proven, sustainable and renewable technologies lags far behind what is necessary to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions set out in national and EU legislation. The plan will not deliver if the level of ambition on bioenergy remains at an insignificant level, not to mention the reliance on unrealistic targets, unproven technologies, policies and aspirations.”

This version of the plan, like previous versions, focuses strongly on electrification of heat and transport but with an increased emphasis on the potential for biogas/biomethane and the role of liquid biofuels. The plan mentions the potential for biomass use at limited industrial heat level only and falls short in terms of recognising solid biomass as a proven, low-cost and sustainable energy source in commercial and domestic applications. The plan’s ambition and strong focus on electrification (88% by 2030) of high-grade industrial heat which is currently not proven or widely deployed, is not credible. Sustainable biomass is a proven, widely deployed and cost-effective technology currently delivering renewable heat at all scales and temperatures from domestic to industrial.

Seán Finan continued “IrBEA members are disappointed that the plan fails to recognise the need and potential to immediately accelerate the broad uptake of bioenergy technology deployment in Ireland. Despite some positive aspects of the plan, the future contribution of bioenergy in Ireland’s renewable energy mix is not meaningfully recognised in contrast to what’s currently happening in many states across Europe in terms of policy and deployment of bioenergy”

Noel Gavigan, IrBEA Technical Executive noted: “The plan is also at odds with other EU member states who consider bioenergy to be central to decarbonisation. This and previous Climate Action Plans have put significant focus on a very small pool of technologies such as electrification of cars, deep retrofit of houses, and electrification of heat. Generally, electricity is the most expensive means by which to heat water or space. With the first three years of this decade now complete the uptake of these technologies are falling far short of the Climate Action Plan expectations. It is becoming abundantly clear that the plan is set to fail significantly to meet 2025 and 2030 targets. Narrow focus on technologies that rely only on electrification is a very risky policy. This is particularly so as at a time when the public is being asked to be careful about when they use electricity – this plan seeks to make Ireland doubly reliant on having a secure renewable electricity grid delivering substantially more power than today. Instead of taking pressure off the electricity grid, the plan proposes to add more demands to it. Other EU member states clearly see the need to develop a wider range of technologies and are ensuring secure supply though having this approach.”

Ambition for district heating with potential to be fuelled by bioenergy, biogas/biomethane and bioliquids is welcome. The acknowledgement that biofuels have played a significant role in reducing transport emissions and will remain a core transitional measure for the medium-term reduction of GHG emissions is also positive.

Seán Finan concluded:  “E10 (10% ethanol in petrol) needs to be implemented immediately and increased urgency on biofuel blending up to B12 and B20 (12% and 20% biodiesel in diesel) is required. The ambition in terms of biomethane deployment is welcomed with an updated target of 5.7Twh by 2030. The proposal to develop a biomethane strategy within the next six months to reach this target signals the urgency required. This biomethane strategy needs to be accompanied by a package of incentives, supports and policy measures to mobilise the sector.  Biomethane is recognised in the plan for its potential to deliver zero emission gas-fired electricity generation, high temperature industrial heating, provide alternative diversification opportunities to farmers, but the plan does not mention the potential of biomethane as a transport fuel.  We acknowledge the recognition and support in the plan for our European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Small Biogas Demonstration project and we look forward to communicating the findings arising from this project in 2023.”

ENDS.

For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:

IrBEA highlights several specific aspects related to the biomass, biogas/biomethane and liquid biofuels sectors in the plan published yesterday including:

 

  • Solid Biomass is mentioned as having a role to play in the provision of decarbonised heat at an industrial level but is not recognition for its role at a commercial or domestic level. The commercial level is the current focus of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) administered by SEAI.
  • The plan recognises electrification and biomass adoption in industrial heat decarbonisation and lists KPI’s for industry that “55% of low/medium heat to be electrified, 20% of low/ medium grade heat to be converted to sustainable biomass and 64% (2025) and 88% (2030) of high-grade heat to be converted to direct/hybrid electrification technology”. The ambition and strong focus on electrification technology here, which is not yet proven for high grade heat, does not make sense at the expense of sustainable biomass which is cheaper, widely available, proven and a deployed technology currently delivering renewable heat in Ireland at high temperature.
  • The plan is ambitious in terms of biomethane deployment with an updated target of 5.7Twh by 2030 and the plan to develop a biomethane strategy within the next six months is to be welcomed.
  • Biomethane and hydrogen is recognised for its potential to deliver zero emission gas fired electricity generation, high temperature industrial heating, provide alternative diversification opportunities to farmers but not recognised for its potential in transport decarbonisation.
  • IrBEA acknowledges the recognition and support in the plan for its European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Small Biogas Demonstration project and the dissemination of the learning arising from this project in 2023.
  • There is a recognition that Bioeconomy processes require actors working across sectors to: unlock the full potential and cascading use of biomass.
  • The recognition that liquid biofuels have played a significant role in reducing transport emissions and will remain a core transitional measure for the medium-term reduction of GHG emissions is welcomed. The plan to implement E10 (10% ethanol in petrol) in 2023 is confirmed but this should have been implemented several years ago. Increased biodiesel blending rates to B12 and B20 (12% and 20% biodiesel in diesel) need to be implemented more swiftly than 2030.
  • The domestic heat decarbonisation plan is short-sighted to solely focuses on an electrification decarbonisation solution with no recognition of the potential for bioliquid or solid biomass fuelled appliances. These appliances using either sustainable liquid biofuels or Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme certified dry wood fuels as a decarbonisation technology option, replicating these technology option widely deployed and policy supported in many other EU countries.
  • The lack of any recognition and no mention of the role for HVO in decarbonisation heat and transport is a missed opportunity.
  • Energy crops get no mention and a grant aid scheme for willow short rotation coppice should be reinstated in tandem with greatly increased promotion of the SSRH for local sustainable and workable heat solutions.
  • The ambition for district heating is welcomed. Biomass is a proven, low cost and sustainable energy sources for district heating throughout Europe, and that coupled with increasing levels of indigenous sustainable biomass set to come on stream from forestry it fully addresses security of supply concerns in relation to fossil fuels.
  • The ambition afforestation target is welcomed however the plan does not recognise the importance of developing the wood fuel sector in parallel, supplying quality, dry, certified wood fuels under the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme label via local supply chains and providing an outlet for sustainable forest management thinning material.

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA moves bioenergy from the side-lines to centre stage at their annual conference today.

For Immediate Release:

11/10/2022

Large numbers attend the 21st Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) National Bioenergy Conference at the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny today. Delegates discuss the contribution bioenergy can make to reduce business cost, carbon and supply risks.

Dr. John Reilly, Head of Renewable Energy at Bord na Móna said “Solid biomass and biomethane have a very strong role to play to fully decarbonise Ireland’s electricity sector as well as our heating and transport industries. Bord na Móna is making very significant investment at the Edenderry complex to make it bioenergy ready and to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Leo Varadkar, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment noted in his online address that: “Bioenergy requires policy coherence with the relevant decision makers and to be recognised for its strong potential in Ireland.”

IrBEA President and CEO of the South Eastern Energy Agency, Paddy Phelan said: “There is a great buzz at today conference. The bioenergy resource needs to be converted into real tangible renewable energy opportunities. This requires the immediate and urgent introduction of policy, supports and incentives.”

IrBEA would also like to thank our conference headline sponsors Bord na Móna and associate sponsors South East Energy Agency, Gas Networks Ireland, Ethanol Europe, and Glas Energy. All these businesses exhibited today and contributed to the panel discussions.

Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO speaking at the conference said: “Bioenergy is uniquely placed in providing a solution to the current challenges which Ireland faces in terms of energy security and indigenous supply. At this year’s conference, the message is very clear on the need to accelerate policy with encourages the uptake of bioenergy technology deployment in Ireland and the current & future contribution of bioenergy in Ireland’s renewable energy mix.”

Finan concluded: “All those involved in this year’s conference are active in the promotion and deployment of solid, liquid or gaseous bioenergy. The time for action in terms of bioenergy is now. The resources are available, the supply chain is ready and energy users want bioenergy to reduce cost, carbon and supply risks.”

ENDS.

For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:

 

About the 21st National Bioenergy Conference

Full details of the conference including sponsors, exhibitors, agenda and speakers is available at  www.nationalbioenergyconference.ie

 

Photo Captions: Pic 1 IrBEA Conference

Pictured at the 21st IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference are l to r: Paddy Phelan IrBEA President and CEO of South Eastern Energy Agency, Seán Finan CEO Irish Bioenergy Association and Dr John Reilly Head of Renewable Energy at Bord na Móna

Photo Captions: Pic 2 IrBEA Conference

Pictured at the 21st IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference are l to r: Paddy Phelan IrBEA President and CEO of South Eastern Energy Agency, Dr John Reilly Head of Renewable Energy at Bord na Móna  and Seán Finan CEO Irish Bioenergy Association

Photo Captions: Pic 3 IrBEA Conference

Pictured at the 21st IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference are l to r: Paddy Phelan IrBEA President and CEO of South Eastern Energy Agency, Dr John Reilly Head of Renewable Energy at Bord na Móna  and Seán Finan CEO Irish Bioenergy Association

 

 

What is Bioenergy?

Bioenergy can be defined as any form of energy that is derived from living organisms, either

plant or animal. It encompasses a wide range of different types and origins. It can take the form of solid, liquid or gaseous fuel and can be used to provide renewable energy across a variety of sectors including heating, electricity generation and transport sectors.

 

What are the different forms of Bioenergy?

  • Solid biofuels and wood fuels: Wood pellet, woodchip, energy crops, firewood and biomass briquettes
  • Gaseous Biofuels: Biogas and Biomethane
  • Liquid Biofuels: Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil and Bio-oil

 

About the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)

IrBEA was founded in 1999. Its role is to promote the bioenergy industry and to develop this important sector on the island of Ireland. The diverse membership includes farmers and foresters, fuel suppliers, energy development companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, engineers, financiers and tax advisers, legal firms, consultants, planners, research organisations, local authorities, education, and advisory bodies – anyone with an interest in the bioenergy industry. IrBEA is recognised by Government and agencies as the voice of the bioenergy industry. The association’s main objectives are to influence policy makers to promote the development of bioenergy, and to promote the interests of members. Improving public awareness, networking, and information sharing, and liaising with similar interest groups are other key areas of work in promoting bioenergy as an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable energy. Further information on the association is available at www.irbea.org

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: Reducing energy costs, carbon, and supply risks – sustainable bioenergy for business IrBEA announces details of upcoming national bioenergy conference

For Immediate Release:
07/10/2022

IrBEA’s 21st national bioenergy conference will take place on Tuesday 11th October at the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny. Bioenergy is uniquely placed in providing a solution to the current challenges which Ireland faces in terms of energy security and indigenous supply. IrBEA looks forward to welcoming a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to this flagship event. At this year’s conference, the focus will be on the need to accelerate the uptake of bioenergy technology deployment in Ireland and the current & future contribution of bioenergy in Ireland’s renewable energy mix.

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said: “We need all renewable technologies and renewable fuels to be deployed as part of a broad renewable energy policy in Ireland. The conference title ‘Sustainable bioenergy for business: reducing costs, carbon and supply risks’ is very appropriate in the current environment of high energy prices, a climate crisis and worries about energy security. IrBEA members have the technologies and fuelling solutions which will address all those concerns. These solutions will be discussed in detail at the conference.”

In line with the development of its renewable energy portfolio, Bord na Móna is headline sponsor for the  21st national bioenergy conference.

Finan continued: “We are very pleased that Bord na Móna is headline sponsor for this conference given its transition to renewable energy technologies. The company’s mission is to take a leadership position in developing and delivering clean, renewable energy, along with carbon storage and resource recovery solutions.”

Bord na Móna has plans to deploy a wide range of renewable energy generation. Specifically  in bioenergy this includes 100% biomass use at Edenderry Power limited and the development of biomethane production capacity.

Tom Egan Operations Manager at Bord na Móna said: “Bord na Móna are delighted to sponsor IrBEA’s national bioenergy conference. Edenderry Power Plant shows the potential of bioenergy and how it can help Ireland transition from fossil fuels to low carbon, renewable energy generation. Approximately 80% of Edenderry’s biomass is supplied by Irish producers. The biomass contribution at Edenderry makes it the biggest supplier of ‘on-demand’ renewable energy on the Island of Ireland. Ireland aims to have an 80% renewable electricity supply by 2030. By 2024, Bord na Mona’s Edenderry Power Plant will be generating 100% renewable energy, helping Ireland meet this vital climate action target.”

In additions to the headline sponsorship of Bord na Móna, IrBEA is happy to welcome the associate sponsorship of Gas Networks Ireland, Southeast Energy Agency, Ethanol Europe and GLAS Energy for this year’s conference.

Finan concluded:  “All those involved in this year’s conference are active in the promotion and deployment of solid, liquid, or gaseous bioenergy. We look forward to welcoming delegates to Kilkenny next week and for intensive engagement on many aspects associated with our industry including its potential and opportunity as well as hearing from current users of bioenergy in Irish business which is reducing cost, carbon, and supply risks.”

ENDS.
For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

on the association is available at www.irbea.org

Jump-start bioenergy in Budget 2023 to buttress energy security – IrBEA

For Immediate Release:

23/09/2022

Jump-start bioenergy in Budget 2023 to buttress energy security – IrBEA

Globally, over two thirds of renewable energy comes from bioenergy. This is over ten times the energy generated from both wind and solar. Budget 2023 is Government’s opportunity to recognise Irish bioenergy’s potential to buttress energy security and for it to announce dedicated incentives to jump-start the Irish bioenergy industry. Bioenergy sources and technology are proven globally, they are available here and now, and it’s high time for action.

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said: “We desperately need all renewable technologies and fuels. European and global bioenergy deployment is driven by dedicated policy supports, incentives and measures. The bioenergy industry in Ireland is still waiting for its full potential to be realised by the Government. Favourable Irish policy measures in recent years for wind and solar have helped develop those sectors. This budget presents the Government with an opportunity to announce measures which support the mobilisation of bioenergy. Bioenergy can significantly contribute to energy security and reduce Ireland’s dependence on volatile and record high-priced fossil fuels. The contribution of Irish-sourced and produced bioenergy, for energy security that’s sustainable can no longer be ignored.

‘Anaerobic digestion’ was almost a mantra in media interviews and on talk-shows for a few heady weeks of summer. It’s time now for the Government to act on that. Bioenergy covers a broad range of sustainable, renewable, indigenous energy alternatives available here on our doorstep. A mainstream Irish biogas/biomethane industry (using anaerobic digestion technology) mobilised on a phased basis would reduce our dependence on fossil gas. The REPowerEU policy demands it. Mobilising the solid biomass resource can contribute to renewable heat. Increased blending rates of liquid biofuels has both emissions’ reduction and fossil fuel displacement benefits. Over the last few weeks, IrBEA, on behalf of members, has lobbied in advance of the budget on the issues impacting our members in the bioenergy sector. IrBEA is calling for a mixture of supports, policy announcements and practical issues to be addressed in the Budget and Finance Act which are impacting our industry and members.

Finan continued “Bioenergy is thriving across Europe. Why is the Irish Government an outlier and not embracing this opportunity also? The EU Commission identifies that the member state with the largest potential growth for biogas / biomethane production is Ireland. Yet to date, we have had mainly Government inaction or inertia in realising this potential. In challenging times, it is vital to exploit all proven opportunities to tackle climate change and enable security of energy supply.”

Despite the fact that Ireland has a natural advantage in producing bioenergy due to our mild climate and fertile land, Ireland ranks bottom of the EU table in terms of its generation and use of renewable heat. We now have a unique opportunity to build a significant industry with multiple benefits using solid, liquid and gaseous bioenergy.

Finan concluded “While our focus is on using bioenergy in the transition away from fossil fuels, we acknowledge that building a sustainable economic and social recovery should also embrace related renewable technologies as well achieving the development of sustainable materials and the protection of our ecosystems. Essentially, we need to marshal a wide range of technologies and renewable fuels to decarbonise the energy sector across heat, transport and electricity. This will provide opportunities for many, including farmers and foresters through farm diversification and development of alternative enterprises, development of rural jobs and addressing the climate changes and emissions challenges faced by the country. The budget is an opportunity to jump-start bioenergy, buttress energy supply, and realise all this other potential with it.”

ENDS.

For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:
Summary of IrBEA’s Bioenergy budget measures include:

1. Mobilising an Irish Biogas/Biomethane Industry:
Introduction of a Biogas / biomethane support scheme to mobilise an Irish biogas industry on a phased basis. The biogas / biomethane industry needs to be mobilised with policy, incentives, measures and supports similar to what is happening across Europe.
In the current environment of high fossil energy prices and challenges around energy security there should be no further delay in giving market certainty and supporting the development of the industry.

2. Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH):
Budget provision for widespread roll out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) in 2023 and rapid resolution of administrative implementation issues with the scheme. These issues are severely impacting on the schemes potential to contribute to national renewable heat and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The Minister and SEAI need to ensure that dedicated resources are assigned to assist with the efficient administration and implementation of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) programme.

3. Carbon Tax:
Despite record fossil energy prices, the carbon tax increase should proceed by a minimum of €10/tonne in the budget, provided effective measures are in implemented to protect vulnerable members of society potentially exposed to fuel poverty. Revenue generated from carbon tax increases should  provide support for the development of bioenergy and a biogas / biomethane industry in Ireland on a phased and sustainable basis.

4. Provision in Finance Act – Revenue treatment of Biomass Equipment:
Provision be made in the Finance Act for the revenue treatment of biomass chipping and related equipment to be the same as the treatment of other mobile machinery such as mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment. This is specially related to using rebated fuel, registration of overweight vehicles and tachograph usage.

5. Biofuel Obligation Scheme:
As per the Biofuel Obligation Scheme (BOS), biofuels are blended with petrol and diesel available at the forecourt. We call for the immediate increase of blending rates to E10 (10% Ethanol) petrol blend and B12 (12% Biodiesel) diesel blend in Ireland. This would increase the blending rates from the current substitution rates of E5 for petrol and B7 for Diesel.

6. Grant Scheme for Eco Design Heating Appliances:
The National home retrofit scheme is ambitious but challenged due to the high costs, availability of labour & materials and disruption to individuals. While successful for some households, the programmes dedication to the energy efficiency first principal has led it to be unsuitable, costly and disruptive for a large proportion of the population. While we support the energy efficiency first principal where it can be economically viable to pursue, decarbonisation is the priority in the short term. This means looking at fuel use and heating technologies. We call for the introduction in this budget of a grant scheme to support the transition from fossil fuel appliances to eco-design compliant biomass appliances at a residential level. This will support an energy transition to the use of cleaner, energy efficient appliances which will contribute to greenhouse gas emissions savings, and rural employment.

7. Energy Crop Support Scheme:
That the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine make provision in their budget for the introduction of support for the energy crop sector. The Irish Bioenergy Association believes that this is an effective way of providing additional indigenous biomass for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) installations, provides an alternative farm enterprise, potentially reduce livestock number, promoting the bioeconomy, rural development, and sustainable jobs.

8. Forestry Programme Implementation Resources:
We support the calls by the forest industry for financial provision be made for increased staff and specialist resourcing in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to address forestry licensing issues and backlog.

9. Financial Instruments and Loans Interest Loans:
Introduce financial instruments to assist of Renewable technologies such as:
Expand the capital investment to build district heating networks via the climate action fund.
Introduce a low cost guaranteed loan facility through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SCBI) or similar for the development of bioenergy renewable project similar to the SCBI Future Growth Loan Scheme introduced for the farming sector a few years ago.

Notes to Editors:

What is Bioenergy?
Bioenergy can be defined as any form of energy that is derived from living organisms, either
plant or animal. It encompasses a wide range of different types and origins. It can take the form of solid, liquid or gaseous fuel and can be used to provide renewable energy across a variety of sectors including heating, electricity generation and transport sectors.

What are the different forms of Bioenergy?
• Solid biofuels and wood fuels: Wood pellet, woodchip, energy crops, firewood and biomass briquettes
• Gaseous Biofuels: Biogas and Biomethane
• Liquid Biofuels: Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil and Bio-oil

About the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)
IrBEA was founded in 1999. Its role is to promote the bioenergy industry and to develop this important sector on the island of Ireland. The diverse membership includes farmers and foresters, fuel suppliers, energy development companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, engineers, financiers and tax advisers, legal firms, consultants, planners, research organisations, local authorities, education, and advisory bodies – anyone with an interest in the bioenergy industry. IrBEA is recognised by Government and agencies as the voice of the bioenergy industry. The association’s main objectives are to influence policy makers to promote the development of bioenergy, and to promote the interests of members. Improving public awareness, networking, and information sharing, and liaising with similar interest groups are other key areas of work in promoting bioenergy as an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable energy. Further information on the association is available at www.irbea.org

PRESS RELEASE:  IrBEA launches bioenergy factsheet series

Pictured launching the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) factsheet series are L to R: Paddy Phelan 3CEA CEO and IrBEA President, Minister of State Pippa Hackett and Seán Finan IrBEA CEO.

Immediate Release: 01/09/2022

Pictured launching the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) factsheet series are L to R: Paddy Phelan 3CEA CEO and IrBEA President, Minister of State Pippa Hackett and Seán Finan IrBEA CEO.

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) launches the bioenergy factsheet series today. The aim of the factsheet series is to provide information to a wide range of stakeholders on the various forms and aspects of bioenergy. The titles in the series to date are:

  • Bioenergy – An Overview
  • Wood and Solid Biomass Fuels
  • Biogas
  • Biofuels
  • Biochar
  • Energy Crops

Seán Finan, CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association said  “We are delighted to launch our bioenergy factsheet series as a knowledge transfer and information resource for the promotion of the different bioenergy sectors. While other renewable energies are easier for the public to comprehend (e.g. wind or solar), bioenergy is made up of a wide range of technologies and fuels and can be utilised to provide heat, electricity, and transport fuels.”

Bioenergy makes up 67.2% of all renewable energy across the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognises that bioenergy represents the largest current contributor to renewable energy and is likely to remain that way for at least the first half of this century. Bioenergy has a strong role in carbon removal and reduction of emissions, as well as in the development of bioenergy-based fuel alternatives for fossil fuels. Bioenergy can complement the food, fibre, and forestry product sectors. In Ireland, bioenergy requires investment, support and the right policy measures to be in place, to ensure the continued sustainability of the sector.

Paddy Phelan IrBEA President said: “The factsheets and the ongoing work of IrBEA in each of the sectors covered is particularly relevant in the current crisis of high fossil energy prices, security of energy supply, urgent need for decarbonisation and climate action. The Irish bioenergy sector is unique in that it can provide an indigenous energy solution to all the current challenges. Bioenergy can produce continuous, storable, and dispatchable renewable energy delivered through local supply chains, offering employment opportunities and economic activity.”

 

ENDS

For Further Information please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087-4146480

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA outlines urgency for Government policy to mobilise biogas / biomethane industry at Joint Oireachtas Committee

Immediate Release: 07/07/2022   PRESS RELEASE:

IrBEA outlines urgency for Government policy to mobilise biogas / biomethane industry at Joint Oireachtas Committee

This week at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) outlined the urgency to introduce policies and supports to mobilise an Irish biomethane industry. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a proven technology used worldwide at many different scales.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee, Seán Finan, CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association said: “Biogas production from AD technology is mainstream across Europe and worldwide. There are over 20,000 operational AD plants around the EU, and several million across the world. Ireland is far behind its EU counterparts in policy development terms and utilising this technology, with currently approximately 20 AD plants in operation in Ireland.”

In 2017, an EU Commission report titled “An assessment of the potential of biogas from anaerobic digestion in the EU beyond 2020” identifies that the member state with the largest potential for growth of biogas production is Ireland.

Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive at IrBEA said: “Anaerobic digestion complements and delivers on EU policies such as the Farm to Fork strategy. The recent RePowerEU report sets an EU target of 35Billion m3 of Biomethane by 2030. There is a significant opportunity for Ireland to contribute to this and a dedicated Irish AD biogas/biomethane policy is required to maximise the opportunity and potential for Ireland.”

The development of an Irish biomethane industry can present many opportunities for Ireland. The lack of progress in developing an Irish biogas/biomethane industry is a missed opportunity for Ireland’s economy.

Noel Gavigan continued: “This technology can bring many benefits including energy security, de-carbonisation, alternative farm enterprises, reduced emissions from agriculture, enhancing biodiversity, developing the circular and bioeconomy, improved water quality, rural development and job creation.”

The gap between cost of production of biogas / biomethane and the market return has closed in recent times with the increased fossil energy prices.

Seán Finan concluded: “This cost gap must be bridged through Government policy, support, incentives, and measures. Current policy measures such as the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) provide good incentives for solid biomass with significant opportunities to broaden and enhance the existing support for biogas. Planned policy measures like the proposed Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) must be put in place immediately to encourage rapid transition from fossil fuels to indigenously produced biogas, biomass, and other fuels. IrBEA strongly encourages the Oireachtas committee to promote the immediate launch of this obligation.”

Midlands Bioenergy Development Project in-person launch in Moate

Tuar Ard Arts and Enterprise Centre, Moate, Co Westmeath was the venue for the in-person launch of the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project on 22nd June 2022. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Project is co-ordinated by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and co-funded by the National Just Transition Fund for the Midlands region. Minister for Land-use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett officiated at the launch and gave the keynote address on behalf of the government. Just Transition Commissioner, Mr Kieran Mulvey, spoke about what the Just Transition seeks to deliver for the region. More localised events will take place around the Midlands in the autumn so that the project can engage directly with potential bioenergy start-up enterprises that could benefit from knowledge transfer, training and mentoring from the project.

From left: Mr Tom Shanahan, Offaly Co Co; Ms Sarah Morgan, Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan; Kieran Mulvey, Just Transition Commissioner; Minister for Land-use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett; Mr Paddy Phelan, President, IrBEA; Mr Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Project Executive, Midlands Bioenergy Development Plan, IrBEA; Mr Seán Finan, CEO, IrBEA; Mr Pat Gallagher, CEO, Westmeath Co Co; Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive, IrBEA; and Dr Isabella Donnelly, Regional Coordinator and Westmeath County Mentor, SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities.

 

Press Release: IrBEA welcomes new Midlands Bioenergy Development Project Executive

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA’s Midlands Bioenergy Development Project welcomes new Project Executive

Immediate Release:  15th March 2022

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is pleased to announce its appointment of Pádraic Ó hUiginn as Project Executive for its Midlands Bioenergy Development Project.

Seán Finan IrBEA CEO said “On behalf of IrBEA, I’m delighted to welcome Pádraic Ó hUiginn to the association. I wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role. Pádraic brings a wealth of bioeconomy innovation experience. We look forward to working with him at this critical time, as Ireland grapples with the rising costs of fossil fuels, energy security, and the transition to renewables.”

Pádraic Ó hUiginn holds qualifications in economics, regulation, communications, project management and sustainability. He brings a broad range of experience and knowledge to IrBEA and joins at a pivotal time for the renewable energy sector. Pádraic will drive the implementation of the recently commenced Midlands Bioenergy Development Project. Supported by the National Just Transition Fund, this project will provide start-up enterprises in the Midlands region with non-financial support, knowledge, guidance and mentoring to establish successful bioenergy businesses. These businesses will help the Just Transition in the Midlands by providing quality green employment opportunities for a transitioning workforce. Pádraic will also be involved in other projects and work programmes within the association.

Prior to joining IrBEA, he worked for a number of years with tcbb RESOURCE and the Ryan Institute for sustainability and innovation. During that time Pádraic worked on the Causeway project, that introduced the first biomethane into the national gas grid; and Bio-Éire, that informed Ireland’s first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy. He has a depth of experience supporting start-ups through BioBase4SME and the EU Regio Star Award-winning Bio Base North-West Europe, and the ReNEW Network, the first circular economy network on the island of Ireland. Pádraic also initiated and developed an EPA-funded research project that analysed the level of joined-up environmental policy in Ireland, sought out examples of best practice, and produced a ‘trip adviser’ guide of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for policy-makers and decision-makers.

Pádraic Ó hUiginn said “I am delighted to join the team here at IrBEA. I see in any successful association, that the momentum comes from its members, with the executive staff implementing and coordinating the strategic direction set out by the members and board. IrBEA has a challenging role to promote the entire bioenergy sector, across biomass, biogas, biofuels, biochar, energy crops and wood-fuels. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Project is aimed at supporting a region that has a wealth of energy production know-how across a range of skills. Bioenergy is inherently cross-cutting in that it can support joined-up answers to problems in energy security, job creation, farming, transport, and protecting soil, habitats, air and water.”

Pádraic Ó hUiginn continued “The Climate Action Plan 2021 shows that Government and our public bodies have begun to recognise that to move away from fossil fuels requires a mix of renewables: to meet the different challenges in electricity, heat, and transport. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Project is an excellent initiative to support this transition in a region stretching from East Galway to Kildare, and from Longford and Roscommon to North Tipperary –it can be a leading example for others to follow.”

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For further information please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480

 

About the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project:

The National Just Transition Fund
The National Just Transition Fund (JTF) is a key pillar of the Government’s plan for the Midlands region. A fund was made available in 2020 to support communities transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The focus is on retraining workers and generating sustainable employment in green enterprise across the region. The objective of the JTF is to facilitate innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region (including East Galway, Kildare, Laois, Longford, North Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, and Westmeath) and have significant employment and enterprise potential. The JTF supports projects that take a whole-of-Midlands strategic approach and complement other sources of public funding.

The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme
The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme will provide start-up enterprises in the Midlands region with non-financial support, knowledge, guidance and mentoring to establish successful bioenergy businesses. These businesses will help the Just Transition in the Midlands by providing quality green employment opportunities for a transitioning workforce. The businesses will process indigenous feedstock (grass, wood, energy crops) to produce bioenergy (firewood, wood pellets, biogas, biochar, biooils etc) which will off-set existing fossil fuel usage. The feedstock which will be grown and sourced in the Midlands will stimulate the local rural economy and provide opportunities for primary producers also. This project will deliver a bioenergy knowledge transfer programme in the region on the various bioenergy sector opportunities in biomass production, biogas production, wood fuel and energy crop processing and production and biochar production and usage. This project will link producer, processing business, energy users and investors. The SMEs supported by the project through a mentoring programme will promote economic growth and rural development in the Midlands region. Mentoring and technical advice will be provided by the project team to develop 12 start-up enterprises in the Bioenergy sector in the midlands. This will be the main deliverable of the project

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA hosts photo launch for the JTF Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme

 

Press Release – Immediate Release 26/01/2022IrBEA hosts photo launch for the JTF Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) recently complete a launch photograph with Minister of State, Senator Pippa Hackett for its Just Transition Fund (JTF) Project ‘The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme.’

Speaking at the photo launch, Mr Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA, said: “We are delighted to complete our photo launch of the IrBEA Just Transition funded Project with Minister Hackett. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme has been designed to provide training, mentoring, technical support, and advice to those interested in exploring the development of new bioenergy-based businesses in the midlands. The project will support the establishment of bioenergy businesses and link producers, processing business, energy users and investors.”

Under the National Just Transition Fund, administered by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), granted projects will seek to develop innovative projects which will lead to economic, environmental, and social sustainability for the Midlands region as it shifts away from the model of peat harvesting and use to a low carbon society with alternative employment opportunities within the catchment areas. The counties that are covered within the Just Transition Programme area and this project are East Galway, Kildare, Laois, Longford, North Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, and Westmeath.

Stephen McCormack, Project Executive with IrBEA said “The bioenergy sector encompasses many different possibilities for those looking to develop their own business, reskill and to find new employment opportunities. Bioenergy can be anything from the development of wood fuels such as wood chip, firewood or pellets, the growth of dedicated energy crops and biogas, biofuels, or biochar production. We will be kicking off the project activities in the coming months with a formal launch event and hosting a series of information and awareness events throughout the Midlands region.”

The project will assess the potential feedstocks and energy demand within the various counties of the JTF catchment as well as assessing the skills and training needs of interested parties. The project will design and rollout a knowledge transfer programme through the provision of training, mentoring, technical guidance, and advice for those looking to develop fully fledged bioenergy related businesses.

Finan concluded “Bioenergy is responsible for doing the heavy lifting in terms of all the various renewable energy technologies worldwide. By supporting those looking to transition into this sector, local employment opportunities can be provided. This will help keep the economic activity generated within the locality and more importantly, reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and improving energy security. We look forward to engaging with former peat and power industry workers, farmers, foresters, SMEs, energy users and individuals within the region as they transition towards a sustainable low carbon energy future.”

To assist in the delivery of the Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme, IrBEA are currently recruiting a Project Executive. Full details can be found on the IrBEA website or via the link:
https://www.irbea.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/4-IrBEA-Project-Executive-Recruitment-Jan-2021-Job-Specification-Updated..pdf

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For Further Information Please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480