Press Release – “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action”

Press Release: Immediate Release

Biogas Can Addresses Ireland’s Declared Climate Emergency with Government Policy and Action Now

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and Cré – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland recently launch their joint policy document calling for a biogas support scheme titled “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action”. This document developed following consultation with members and key stakeholders in the sector, sets out a road map for how the government target of 1.6Twh of biomethane by 2030 can be achieved on a phased basis over the next number of years. The document provides the Irish government with an industry roadmap for the role out of a meaningful Irish biogas industry. This document addresses the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action call for a strategy to be developed for anaerobic digestion and also the Government Climate Action Plan action on biomethane injection. This policy document articulates a vision from the industry and outlines the key principles which will need to be followed for the growth and development of a successful Irish biogas industry. Read more

IrBEA PRESS RELEASE: Climate Action Plan ambition welcomed but needs to be reinforced with bioenergy support measures

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes the publication last week of the Climate Action Plan. IrBEA articulates that the renewable energy targets set out in the plan in terms of heat and biomethane will only be realised if backed with significant financial supports.

Speaking on Friday at a technical workshop on the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)  Des O’Toole, IrBEA President & Coillte Market Development Manager said “Overall, sustainably produced biomass will play a key role in Ireland’s transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy. The SSRH unlocks great potential to provide energy savings and carbon emissions reductions by lowering energy costs for Irish industry, it ensures these businesses remain competitive in a global environment”

IrBEA also launched the IrBEA Biomass Heating Systems Designers and Installers Register, IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said “Bioenergy as a fully dispatchable renewable energy technology can assist in achieving our Renewable Energy targets across all three areas of electricity, heat and transport. For bioenergy to become mainstream, meaningful government supports will be required” 

 

Finan continued “Industry feedback following publication of the Climate Action plan suggests that the plan ‘over-emphasises’ the part electricity will play.  IrBEA fully support the target of 70% renewable electricity by 2030. However, electricity is less than one third of our primary energy usage and we cannot expect to decarbonise the economy without addressing heat and transport decarbonisation also. Bioenergy is ideally place to assist in this effort with heat and transport. The potential for use of highly efficient biomass boilers and renewable biogas boilers in domestic houses cannot be overlooked in favour of heat pumps. Biomass systems need to form part of the technology mix to be used in domestic installations”

Noel Gavigan IrBEA executive concluded “ our SSRH Technical workshop today heard calls for the return of the energy crop establishment support scheme to ensure that Irish indigenous energy crops and short rotation coppices are incentivised to assist in satisfying the market needs for biomass which the SSRH will generate. Growing these crops will also assist in the decarbonisation of agriculture and also support rural jobs and economic activity. Attendees acknowledged the importance of competent designers and installers of biomass heating systems as well as quality feedstock certified by the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) as key components for the success of the SSRH scheme”

The Irish Bioenergy Association would like to thank the speakers who gave their time and expertise to this event and all the participants who attended, in excess of 150. If you would like to view the presentations or photos from the day, click here: Presentations Photos

Release Date: 21 June 2019

 

PRESS RELEASE: Support Scheme for Renewable Heat Launch is a Game Changer for the Heat Sector

Press Release:

Immediate Release 04th June 2019

Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a Game Changer for the Heat Sector says the Irish Bioenergy Association

The Irish Bioenergy Association welcomes the announcement by Minister Bruton this morning that the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) is open for applications from today.

Speaking following the announcement IrBEA president Des O’Toole said, “The introduction of the SSRH is a game changer as Ireland now urgently needs to address its declared climate emergency. As well as contributing towards Ireland’s ambitious renewable energy targets, the expected growth in demand for biomass will be a key outlet for the increased supply of forest fibre projected over the next 15 years. Its introduction is welcomed and will stimulate further investment across the forestry supply chain and support the creation of new jobs across the rural economy. Ireland now needs to show leadership and drive the climate change agenda and the SSRH is a step in the right direction.”

IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said “After years of waiting and lobbying, IrBEA welcomes the announcement of the opening of the SSRH scheme for Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion (Biogas) heat systems. The biomass heating sector is currently in a state of stagnation and has waited many years for this scheme to open. This scheme is the kick-start that this industry requires to mobilise the renewable heat sector in Ireland. We are currently reviewing the full terms and conditions of the scheme released this morning.  I strongly encourage non-domestic heat users  including farmers to consider applying for this scheme and install a biomass heating system through the SSRH which will deliver long term environmental and economic benefits. ”

IrBEA notes that the scheme is based on 1300 GWh of renewable heat per year, it is envisaged approximately 360,000 tonnes of woodchip or 250,000 tonnes of wood pellets will be required to support this new scheme on a yearly basis. The SSRH scheme will only be successful in assisting with reaching our renewable heat targets if a significant budget is ring-fenced for the scheme.

Finan continued “Minister Bruton and his Department needs to ensure that a significant budget is set aside for this scheme in future years to ensure that the scheme reaches the significant potential which exists to change non-domestic heat-users from fossil fuel based heating sources to renewable biomass sources. In IrBEA, we continue to promote best practices in the biomass heating sector through our Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) and are currently developing our Biomass heating systems register of designers and installers.”

SAVE THE DATE: IrBEA will be running a technical workshop on ‘All you need to know about the SSRH’ aimed at heat users, technology providers, woodfuel suppliers and anyone with an interest in the sector on Friday morning 21st June, at a Dublin venue. Full line-up of speakers and venue to be confirmed in the coming days.

End

For Further Information please contact

Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on  087 4146480

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA Welcomes SSRH State Aid Approval and Calls for Immediate Opening of the Scheme

16/04/2019

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) warmly welcomes the confirmation that the EU has formally approved the state aid application for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH). This scheme needs to open immediately in response to the state aid approval.

IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said “the Irish heat sector is currently in a state of stagnation. The industry has waited for many years for the opening of a support scheme for renewable heat. The approval of the Irish state aid application by the EU Commission is a positive development and is the impetus and stimulus that the industry needs at this time. This approval needs to be followed immediately with the launch of the SSRH scheme by Minister Bruton and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Our members demand that the scheme is launched immediately so that they can begin planning and putting the necessary arrangements in place for the upcoming projects, which will be delivered under the scheme. ”

IrBEA has lobbying for many years on behalf of its members for the full implementation of the SSRH scheme which presents many opportunities for the Irish heat sector. The SSRH will help to decarbonise the heat sector, encourage the move from fossil based to biomass based heating systems, while assisting in our obligations in terms of renewable heat targets. Farmers particularly in the pig, poultry and horticulture sector will benefit. Heat users in the non-emission trading, non-single domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural and public sectors will also benefit from this scheme. The scheme will pay an operational aid based on eligible heat use which reduces as heat output increases.

Finan concluded “this SSRH scheme will contribute to Ireland’s heat targets under the RED II directive. The scheme needs to be properly funded and not administratively heavy which would hinder uptake. The scheme offers significant potential to decarbonise our heat sector and move away from fossil fuel sources to renewable biomass energy heating systems. IrBEA continues to play its part in the development of the biomass heating and wood fuels sector through the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) and also through our SEAI funded Biomass Practitioners Register project which is creating a register of competent biomass heating systems designers and installers. ” 
For further information please Contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference – Bioenergy Future Ireland – Croke Park Dublin

Swift Government Action on Policy needed to Mobilise Bioenergy

The need for the government to immediately open the main support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) and to progress with a feed in tariff for biogas were the top priorities for delegates attending todays Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) conference held at Croke Park.

The theme of the conference sponsored by CPL Industries and DWF is Mobilising Bioenergy with Policy and Action. The conference brings together delegates from across the main bioenergy sectors of biomass, biogas, biofuels and energy crops who gather to discuss the actions needed to mobilise the bioenergy industry with a particular focus on technology, investment and the climate change agenda as we transition to more renewables and sustainable energy sources.

The potential for the bioenergy sector in Ireland is huge and swift government action on bioenergy policy can accelerate economic growth, sustain thousands of jobs especially in rural areas, improve environmental quality, drastically cut CO2 emissions, assist in meeting our international renewable energy commitments and avoiding EU fines.

Speaking in his opening address Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA stated Our immediate priority is the roll out of the full SSRH scheme. The industry has had many promised and expected launch dates of SSRH which have come and gone. The industry eagerly awaits the launch of this scheme. We call on Minister Bruton to clarify today the timelines for the scheme launch. The industry demand certainty on the scheme timelines as they are currently organising staffing and work plans for the remainder of the year 

Opening the conference, Chair of the joint Oireachtas Committee on Communication, Climate Action and Environment Hildegarde Naughton T.D.  updated all attendees on the work of her committee and the role bioenergy can play in addressing the climate change challenges facing Ireland.

In his presentation President of the Irish Bioenergy Association Des OToole and Coilltes Biomass Development Manager highlighted the potential for forestry and biomass as key elements of our bioenergy sector.

Mr OToole said The bioenergy sector is a key part of the overall forestry ecosystem and has an important part to play in its growth. As well as contributing towards Irelands ambitious renewable energy targets and Irelands transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy, the expected growth in demand for biomass will be a key outlet for the increased supply of fibre projected over the next 10 years’’. 

Paddy Phelan Vice President of IrBEA said Clear and obvious economic benefits of the local energy supply chain and its natural position as a low carbon energy supply, which will future proof us within the Renewable Energy Directive II requirements of less than 60g of CO2 per unit of energy produced by 2026 on the island Ireland.

IrBEA actively promotes the huge potential for development of a meaningful biogas industry in Ireland.

Finan continued As an agriculture country, we have an abundance of feedstock. There are many benefits for biogas across many government departments. These include reducing agricultural emissions, improving water quality, economic and jobs in rural and decarbonisation of our gas network and transport fleet with green gas to name but a few

For a biogas industry to be stimulated it will need a government support in terms of a feed in tariff. A high percentage of a tariff provided would go directly back to farmers in rural Ireland for the purchase of feedstock by biogas operators.

Finan concluded This support needs to be assessed by looking at the multi benefits of biogas from a climate, emissions reduction, jobs perspective across a number of government department rather than looking at this as simply a financial cost to the exchequer.

ENDS

CONTACT:   Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO,   +353 87 4146480 or seanfinan@irbea.org

EDITORS NOTES:

Photo Attached: Des OToole IrBEA President and Coillte Business Development Manager, Chair of the joint Oireachtas Committee on Communication, Climate Action and Environment Hildegarde Naughton T.D.  Sean Finan CEO IrBEA

 

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA Welcomes Statement from Minister Richard Bruton T.D. on the Potential for Renewable Energy

PRESS RELEASE
Bioenergy sector offers unlimited potential in addressing climate change challenges – IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) released a press release this week welcoming the statement made on Climate Change by Minister for Communication, Climate Change and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. but are disappointed that it lacks specifics and a focus on the potential for renewable energy in addressing climate change. Climate action is not only a challenge but also a considerable opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in this space. We are in real danger of losing our green image with the  lack of action over the past 15 years.  Many long term plans and targets have been set for 2008, 2012, 2015, 2020, 2030 and now 2040. IrBEA empowers Minister Bruton to show progress on  emissions targets within his own ministerial timeframe. 
Read more

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

New CEO Appointed to IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is delighted to announce that Seán Finan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Association.

Des O’Toole IrBEA President said “On behalf of IrBEA, I’m delighted to welcome Seán Finan to the Association. I wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role. Sean brings with him a wealth of experience and I believe he will show strong leadership to the organisation at this pivotal juncture as Ireland transitions to renewables away from fossil fuels”

Seán Finan is a Chartered Engineer with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering B.E. (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. He also holds a Certificate in Agriculture and farms part time. He brings a broad range of experience and knowledge to IrBEA having various positions and roles within many community, voluntary, representative and statutory organisations at a local, national and European level over the years.

Prior to joining IrBEA, he has over 12 years engineering and management experience with John Sisk & Son (Holding) Ltd and took a two-year secondment from Sisk between 2015 and 2017 to complete a successful term as the 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation.

Finan said “I relish the challenge and opportunity which leading IrBEA presents. I look forward to working with the board, executive committee, membership and executive staff in taking the organisation through its next phase of growth and development. The organisation has an invaluable and key strategic role to play in representing and advocating for the bioenergy sector on the island of Ireland against a backdrop and dealing with challenges such as climate change, emissions reduction and the provision of more renewable energy sources into the future. In my role as CEO of IrBEA, I will work with all stakeholders to ensure a sustainable future in bioenergy and to strategically position bioenergy to play a significant role in Ireland’s Sustainability Renewable Energy Roadmap”.
                                                                             Sean Finan here on the right with Des O’Toole (IrBEA President), Teresa O’Brien(Communications Manager)
                                                      & Noel Gavigan (IrBEA Executive) at the Press Launch of ‘Our Energy Vision’,  a report supported by 8 renewable energy agencies in Ireland

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.

The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM): RED II Set the First European-Wide Sustainability Criteria for Solid Biomass

Brussels, 14.06.18

Understanding the key role played by solid bioenergy, EU negotiations on RED II opted for a constructive approach towards sustainability in the last round of trilogue negotiations. However, the compromise found fall short on creating a level playing for sustainability criteria. 

For the first time, European-wide sustainability criteria have been adopted for solid bioenergy. The European Biomass Association, AEBIOM, welcomes the risk-based approach, the 20 MW threshold and the criteria themselves. This approach ensures that biomass is produced sustainably, irrespective of its geographical origin, without creating unnecessary administrative burden on small installations and countries with a well-established system of forest management.

“You will always find people to complain about the criteria. But for the first time the European legislators gives a sustainability roadmap to the solid bioenergy sector. Despite controversy, policy makers decided to take a challenging but pragmatic approach considering field realities.” explained Jean-Marc Jossart, AEBIOM Secretary-General.

Bioenergy will need to meet 80% greenhouse gas emission savings as compared to fossil fuels in 2026. For electricity-only installations, only best-available technology will be able to get supports. To give a comprehensive overview on all new criteria, AEBIOM released a dedicated infographic today (see below).

The compromise also recognises the role of co-firing allowing bioenergy to play a key role in energy transition while ensuring that biomass is not prolonging the life of old coal installations.

AEBIOM has been one of the front-runners calling for the introduction of EU sustainability criteria as a way to ensure market confidence, while keeping an equal level-playing field for the sector. In this context, we regret to see that Member States will be able to adopt additional national criteria. We hope that we do not end up with 28 different systems after such a constructive effort achieved at European level.