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Highlights of the ‘Bioenergy 2017’ IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference

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 At the conference: The Irish Bioenergy Association Director, Padraic O’Neill, with Fergal Leamy, CEO, Coillte and Matthew Clancy, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

190 strong attendance at IrBEA’s 16th National Bioenergy Conference on Thursday 9th February

  • Bioenergy conference calls for new stimulus to encourage new investment in the Bioenergy sector
  • Fergal Leamy, CEO describes Coillte as on a path to becoming the best forestry and land solutions company in Europe
  • Matthew Clancy, SEAI sees major opportunities and challenges for Ireland in achieving a low carbon economy
  • Professor David Connolly from Aalborg University, says “We need all the bioenergy available to make the transition to a fossil fuel-free future. District Heating will be a key factor in this transition.”
  • Representative from the legal sector, Garrett Monaghan (Arthur Cox) and Russell Smyth (KPMG) stressed the importance of planning, having experts on hand, and using funders as allies to help you get the job done.

Padraic O’Neill (IrBEA) in the welcome speech spoke of Bioenergy having enormous potential to provide energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Ireland, but investor confidence is critical to shift investments towards renewable technologies. A renewable heat policy and support scheme should aim to accelerate market growth by removing the economic barriers currently preventing major capital projects from proceeding.

The programme featured four sessions, the first session focused on policy, Fergus Leamy, CEO of Coillte, the leading forestry, land owning, renewable energy and panel products business in Ireland, provided high-level insights on how we in Ireland can optimize our bioenergy potential. Matthew Clancy, Programme Manager for Low-Carbon Technologies at the SEAI talked about the detailed outlook and challenges for bioenergy in Ireland.

The timing of this conference was particularly appropriate in light of the final consultation on the Government’s proposed introduction of a renewable heat incentive (RHI). This very welcome development can be the key to unlocking the potential of bioenergy in Ireland. Getting to our renewable energy and climate change targets, generating energy from indigenous resources, reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and promoting jobs and economic activity across the entire country, are just some of the benefits.

The Irish Bioenergy Association will be working hard over the next 4 weeks to make a comprehensive and effective submission to this consultation. Reflecting the importance of this challenge we had a session on the RHI consultation delivered by Tom Bruton in the mid morning sessions. After lunch, Session 3 concentrated on Project Finance. Garrett Monaghan of Arthur Cox covered the area of executing and financing biomass projects. He confirmed that capital is available for biomass projects but stressed the importance of planning, having experts on hand, and using funders as allies to help you get the job done. Garrett also looked at RHI implementation and addressed some of the current issues. Russell Smyth (KPMG) walked us through many projects scenarios which are up and running in the AD and W-E sector; commenting that there was a robust equity investment appetite for the sector.

We also had Franceso Panzeri (Demetra) who ran through the history of engineering and designing the ADBag. The solution is a modular system based on a prefabricated plastic bag, which is easy to be installed and maintained. Frank Donnelly of Northway Mushrooms detailed hands-on experiences of his farming business and how his dependence on different renewable energy supplies including biomass boilers and large solar panel investment has helped keep his business viable in changing economic times.

You can view the  conference presentations slides and other photos here, we will also shortly have the presentations in short video format.

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Noel Gavigan (IrBEA), Brian Armstong (ESB)

Adrian Dennehy (ESB)

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Nick Maskery and Mark Kenny (Biomass Engineering)

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Orlaith McVeigh (Action Renewables)

Petra Wassenaar (DMT Environmental Technology)

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Thomas Flynn (BioAgrigas), Paul O’Reilly (ORS),

MarkVarian (Eversheds)

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Prof David Donnelly, Aalborg University,

Copenhagen

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Garrett Monaghan (Arthur Cox) and

Julie-ann Ennis (Coillte)