For Immediate Release:
Budget 2021 is expected to be a watershed budget in terms of driving towards 2030 and 2050 climate actions. Government support for Irish bioenergy industry through dedicated support and development measures will greatly assist in meeting Irelands targets. The bioenergy sectors of biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels are all part of the bioeconomy and offer considerable potential and opportunity to drive the economic, jobs and growth agenda in rural areas.
Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said “The industry in Ireland is waiting for its full potential to be realised by the Government and the budget presents the Government with an opportunity to announced measures and supports which will help to mobilise our industry across the different sectors. There is significant potential for bioenergy to contribute to renewable heat, transport and electricity targets, provide opportunities to farmers through farm diversification and development of alternative enterprises, development of rural jobs and addressing the climate changes and emissions challenges faced by the country.”
Over the last few weeks, IrBEA as the voice of the Irish bioenergy industry and working towards a sustainable energy future, 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 a thriving industry across Europe, and one that Ireland needs to fully embrace. In challenging times it is vital to exploit all proven opportunities to tackle climate change, renew and expand well paid and secure employment 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, out of 28 member states Ireland is 27th in terms of its use of renewable heat. We have a unique opportunity to build a significant industry with multiple benefits. Ireland currently derives 4% of its energy from bioenergy, this needs to rise to 15% by 2030 with further deployment beyond to meet Paris Agreement targets, the potential for economic recovery through quadrupling our bioenergy industry is a remarkable opportunity.
Finan concluded “While our focus is on using bioenergy in the transition away from fossil fuels, we acknowledge that building sustainable, economic and social recovery we 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.”
For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480
Notes to Editors:
Summary of the Bioenergy budget measures include:
- Budget provision for widespread roll out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) in 2021 and rapid resolution of implementation issues with the scheme. These issues are severely impacting on bioenergy’s potential to contribute to national renewable heat and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
- Additional dedicated resources to be assigned to the SEAI to assist with the efficient administration and implementation of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).
- Increase in carbon tax by €10/tonne in Budget 2021, provided effective measures are also implemented to reduce fuel poverty. This should be combined with regulation of wood fuel quality as outlined in IrBEA’s submission to DCCAE and EPA.
- Ringfencing of revenue generated from carbon tax increases to provide support for the development of bioenergy and a biogas/biomethane industry in Ireland on a phased and sustainable basis benefitting rural jobs and the circular economy.
- In line with Action 53 in the Climate Action Plan, make provision for a dedicated preference category under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) and other processes for financing of biomass CHP, biogas CHP and local heating projects, with particular reference to community involvement, and mobilisation of forest biomass.
- As part of the Midlands Renewable Energy Hub, provision for the widening of support for greater use of biomass at scale to decarbonise electricity at Edenderry Power transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2023.
- The Midlands Renewable Energy hub needs to be established immediately to allow the repurposing away from peat to the efficient usage of bioenergy for heat and power provision and the establishment of supply chains, employment opportunities and rural development.
- Introduction of a Biogas support scheme to mobilise an Irish biogas industry on a phased basis as per our joint policy paper developed in association with Cré
- 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 overweigh vehicles and tachograph usage.
- As per the Biofuel Obligation Scheme, 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.
- Introduction of a grant scheme to support the transition from fossil fuel appliances to eco-design compliant 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.
- 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, its members and key stakeholders are working on a policy paper in this area as a way of providing indigenous biomass, an alternative farm enterprise, promoting the bioeconomy, rural development, and jobs.
- 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.