IrBEA Report 2012 – The Economic Benefits from the Development of BioEnergy in Ireland to meet 2020 Targets

Tom Bruton outlines the sector’s contribution to national policy and its future opportunities.

Bioenergy has a key role to play in halting and reversing the negative effects of climate change. Our national and European renewable energy targets remain in place and are based on substantial growth in bioenergy by 2020. The need for sustainable bioenergy resources will increase beyond 2020 as we progressively decarbonise our energy sources.

The importance of biomass in renewable heating cannot be overstated. We have to go from 5 per cent to 12 per cent fossil fuel displacement in the next seven years. We will require hard work, a coherent industry, political commitment and enlightened policy to reach our renewable heat targets.

We have a target to displace 10 per cent of road transport fuel with renewable fuels by 2020. At present we all drive with a fuel blend containing 6 per cent of biofuels in our tanks, although this is almost all imported.

There are also many opportunities, and many benefits, from diversion of organic waste from landfills into renewable energy plant, such as anaerobic digestors.

In 2012, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) launched a study on the socio-economic benefits of developing the bioenergy sector in Ireland over the coming years to 2020.

For some time, there had been a need for a credible independent analysis of the investment required to develop the bioenergy sector, the potential for job creation and the many positive socio-economic benefits that accrue from switching from fossil fuels to indigenous sources of Bioenergy.

A key tenet of the work was the use of conservative, cautious and credible estimates. The Government 2020 projections were used as the baseline for the size of the various renewable energy sub-sectors, notwithstanding the fact there is potential to exceed these projections.

Although agriculture will play a key role in delivering energy crops and farm residues for bioenergy production, no net new employment was assumed in agriculture. The importation of most of the transport biofuels requirement was built into the estimates. Also, co-firing was only projected to happen at one of the three power plants presently fired with peat by 2020.

The independent study was completed by DKM Economic Consultants and RPS group. It confirmed the substantial economic benefits that can accrue by meeting the 2020 bioenergy targets, including:

• over 3,600 new permanent jobs in the bioenergy sector;

• 1.5 billion direct investment in the sector;

• 8,300 work years during construction and installation;

• sustaining family farm incomes in Irish agriculture;

• reducing Ireland’s energy import bill by 7.5per cent; and

• providing a secure and competitive energy source for Irish homes and business.

Tom Bruton newA static policy environment was not assumed. It is clear that there are still regulatory and policy barriers to overcome before the 2020 targets can be met, or indeed exceeded. There are also further opportunities which should not be missed, such as:

• to unlock public procurement of biomass to replace fossil fuels for heating. (local energy supply contracts are under development by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland which should provide a smoother path for public buildings to consider renewable heating);

• to source more of our bioenergy resources within Ireland and accrue the associated economic benefits;

• to develop export-led markets for bioenergy resources and conversion technologies; and

• to create additional value-added products and industries based around biomass resources.

Members of IrBEA and other stakeholders are working to create an environment where these projected jobs become real ones and where the bioenergy sector supports robust and sustainable economic growth in Ireland over the coming decades.

Tom Bruton is a past President of the Irish Bioenergy Association.

The Economic Benefits from the Development of BioEnergy in Ireland to meet 2020 Targets

The Economic Benefits from the Development of BioEnergy in Ireland to meet 2020 Targets (Summary Version)

 

IrBEA RHI Consultation March 2017 – Submission

Please find the link here to the response to the Public Consultation on the design and implementation of a renewable heat incentive in Ireland on behalf of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA). These detailed responses are based on the responses co-ordinated by the IrBEA RHI Working Group on behalf of it’s members and those who responded accordingly to each of the questions raised concerning the design options for the RHI.

As an association supporting the development and deployment of sustainable bioenergy, we look forward to seeing the outcomes of the this consultation process and are hopeful that we will see a well-designed RHI scheme in place for 2017 that will drive growth and stimulate the bioenergy industry in Ireland towards 2020 and beyond.

A Guide to District Heating Ireland

Following on from last week’s conference, please find below the link to A Guide to District Heating Ireland, which has been developed by Dublin’s energy agency Codema on behalf of the Irish Bioenergy Association and Tom Bruton of BioXL.  The guide aims to understand district heating and its benefits and presents learnings for the Irish context from case studies of existing systems and techno-economic analyses of planned systems to be carried out. The guide can be downloaded here Following on from the District heating conference that was held in Dublin on the 4th October, we have the presentations which can be viewed in pdf format here

Renewable Heat Incentive

IrBEA Renewable Heat Incentive in Ireland Report

The Irish BioEnergy Association’s analysis and proposal for a renewable heat incentive (RHI) was made available in September 2015, an electronic version can be viewed here. The report (and recommendations) has incorporated a strong element of industry consultation and represents a coherent and robust appraisal with industry support. A draft of this final report was distributed to all IrBEA members for consultation in June 2015. A workshop was held in May 2015 where the findings were outlined to 50 IrBEA member organisations and individuals. Separate workshops were held with the IrBEA management committee and the IrBEA Renewable Heat Group. A series of meetings were convened also to engage directly with IrBEA stakeholders.

The report is a response to the ongoing RHI consultation process established by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) following publication of its draft Bioenergy Plan.

IrBEA response to CER Review of Connection and Grid Access Policy

The CER invited responses to a Consultation Paper on the Review of Connection and Grid Access Policy. It initiates a review of existing connection policy and requests views on the CER’s proposals for the enduring connection policy regime which will be developed over the course of 2016 and on proposals for transitional arrangements to be decided upon in early 2016. IrBEA asked Tom Bruton/BioXL to lead and coordinate the work in regard to written consultation process. Following feedback from members on a draft IrBEA document, today we submitted the finalised IrBEA response.

In summary:

  • New gate type process targeted to be in place after 30/6/16
  • The level of non-group applications in 2015 has exceeded any prior level, and current rule set is not fit for purpose
  • Shorter fixed-time gates are suggested
  • Your date of application prior to this e.g. to Gate 3 process will probably not matter
  • Likely to encompass all technologies, not just wind, and to go well below current 5MW non-GPA threshold
  • Big question posed about  planning permission prior to grid – not at all straight-forward to implement
  • Emphasis shifts away from 2020 targets and talks about renewables having less significance in connection priority (Gate 3 was mainly renewables driven)
  • Proposes in short term refund on stage 1 payments to DSO/TSO if capacity is surrendered prior to 30/6/16
  • Priority proposed in short term for DS3 applicants
  • Short term measure up to 30/6/16 to allow existing connections to apply for 10% MEC increase, where capacity available

IrBEA response to REFIT3 Consultation

On initial reading it appears the REFIT3 consultation document (notified to Members in an email 7 July as below) is largely a house keeping exercise. We noted that no changes were proposed around the HECHP requirements, or the rates – responses need to be made.

IrBEA has prepared a draft response to this consultation, led by Nick Rackard (Aughrim Energy & Chair of IrBEA’s Grid and REFIT Group). Draft response is available here.

Joint Cré-IrBEA submission on AD for RHI consultation

This submission for DCENR’s RHI technology review consultation, jointly developed by Cré and IrBEA, is focused on anaerobic digestion. The paper includes a short introductory section on AD – the policy changes required, benefits, and supporting documentation – followed by responses to the 40 specific questions in the consultation. The submitted document can be downloaded here

IrBEA submission for a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme

IrBEA’s submission to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for an RES-E support scheme follows a consultation with members. This paper responds to the first stage of four consultation steps indicated by DCENR. IrBEA’s analysis covers a range of issues and concludes with recommendations. A short summary is included at the front end. Read submission here

Response to Consultation on Gas Networks Ireland Policy Review/1007

IrBEA has provided a submission in response to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) consultation on Gas Networks Ireland Policy Review/1007. Overall our members view the proposed changes as beneficial. Our main concern is whether they go far enough to make grid connection options sufficiently attractive commercially – therefore we have recommended generally that the proposed parameters be relaxed to favour stimulating projects in the early development of this area. See submission here