WEBINAR 23: Bioenergy’s contribution to a 40% renewable heat target by 2030

Last month Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) launched 40by30 – a renewable heat vision which delivers 40% renewable heat by 2030.  The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) as a founding member of REI acted in a administrative capacity on behalf of REI for the development of 40by30. 40by30 developed by XD Consulting is the country’s first Renewable Heat Plan which sets out an agreed vision from industry for the renewable heat sector. It calls on the  Government to set an ambitious 40% renewable heat target by 2030 in the revised Climate Action Plan. If implemented, this target will reduce our CO2 emissions by 7% annually in line with the Climate Action Bill.
The report outlines that there is no single solution or technology to decarbonising our heating system. The target can be provided by renewable sources primarily from bioenergy, heat pumps, renewable gas and district heating networks. We can heat our homes, schools, hospitals and businesses using a combination of several different heating technology options.
The purpose of this IrBEA webinar is to focus on the contribution of bioenergy, including solid biomass and biogas, to the ambitious 40% renewable heat target and outline the main findings and recommendations within the report.  The webinar will include contributions from Paddy Phelan IrBEA President, Dr. Tanya Harrington Chairperson of REI and the report’s author, Xavier Dubuisson of XD Consulting. Noel Gavigan IrBEA Technical Executive will join for the panel discussion.

Webinar Details
When: Jun 16, 2021 09:30 AM Dublin
Register in advance for this webinar:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3lPzkVQ1QRGJmXzenYolXw
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Speakers will include:


Tania Harrington
Chief Regulatory Affairs Officer An Post
Chairperson of REI

Paddy Phelan
IrBEA President & 3CEA CEO

Xavier Dubuisson
XD Consulting – Report Author

 

Webinar 22: One Stop Shop – A platform to assist community Energy Projects

This webinar will focus on the opportunities to support community energy projects through an online collaborative platform called the One Stop Shop. It will outline the particular scope for enabling bioenergy projects, assisting the sector’s growth by developing public recognition, buy-in from stakeholders, and supportive policy measures from the government. The digital ‘One Stop Shop’ (OSS) aims to provide all necessary resources and tools to enable citizens to partake in renewable energy projects, helping them overcome technical and organisational barriers that may be holding them back at present. The OSS provides a space for connection and collaboration to share knowledge and experience of a range of projects, to help more ventures develop and increase the spread of local renewable energy generation. Participants of the site can work collectively to foster the growth of these projects on a national and international scale.

Speaker

Annie Duffy
Munster Technological University, Cork

Annie Duffy is a research assistant in Munster Technological University as part of the EU Interreg project, ECCO. Her current research is involved with developing support tools for community energy projects, specifically a maturity scale for ongoing projects to assist with their progress. Previous to this, she completed a research masters in University College Cork investigating the use of digitisation to improve the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes in a medical devices facility.

IrBEA Panelists
Dr. Martin Hill – Munster Technological University, Cork
Seán Finan – IrBEA CEO
Noel Gavigan – IrBEA Technical Executive

Webinar Details
When: Jun 2, 2021 09:30 AM Dublin
Register in advance for this webinar:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_y46cfHAtR_yDgFSOP1gbPQ
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

WEBINAR: 40by30 – A 40% Renewable Heat Vision by 2030

Location: Online Wednesday 24th May 10.30 – 11.30am

This webinar organised by Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) will present details of the recently launched 40by30 Renewable Heat Plan Report. This report shares an agreed Industry vision, which calls on the Government to set an ambitious 40% renewable heat target by 2030 in the revised Climate Action Plan. The report identifies a large number of urgent policy interventions required from Government and Industry to deliver the 40by30 vision.

SPEAKERS

Dr. Tanya Harrington – Chairperson of Renewable Energy Ireland (REI)
Xavier Dubuisson – XD Consulting (Report Author)
Marie Donnelly – Chairperson of Climate Change Advisory Council
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Representative

REGISTRATION

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ozttrSoySSKo0DJwmosfrA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Report Link here

PRESS RELEASE: 40by30 –  Renewable Heat Plan launched

After over a year’s work, the Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) Renewable Heat Plan, 40by30, a roadmap to an Ireland where 40 per cent of our heat can come from renewables by 2030, has been published today.  This report has been developed by XD consulting on behalf of Renewable Energy Ireland. IrBEA are one of the main sponsors of the report and has acted in an administrative role on behalf of Renewable Energy Ireland for the development of this report. This Renewable Heat Plan will assist our lobbying efforts to encourage Minister Ryan and his department officials to adopt an ambitious 40% targets for renewable heat in the upcoming revision of the Climate Action Plan similar to the way the 70/30 report resulted in an ambitious target for the renewable electricity sector. There is a place for all renewable technologies and resources to be deployed in achieving this target. There is a particularly strong role for Bioenergy including solid biomass and biogas / biomethane given that bioenergy heating solutions can be deployed across all sectors and all temperature ranges. If you have any feedback and comments on the report or would like to discuss any aspect of it further please do not hesitate to get in touch with Seán Finan IrBEA CEO seanfinan@irbea.org

Link to report: https://renewableenergyireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Renewable-Energy-Ireland_Renewable-Heat-Plan_-Final.pdf

PRESS RELEASE

Immediate Release:  Thursday 6th May

Renewable Energy Ireland launches country’s first heat plan
United call for target of 40 per cent renewable heat by 2030

Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) publishes today 40by30, a roadmap to an Ireland where 40 per cent of our heat can come from renewables by 2030. This would reduce our CO2 emissions by 7 per cent annually in line with the Climate Action Bill.

This plan was developed by XD Consulting on behalf of REI and with the expert advice of organisations working in district heating, bioenergy, heat pumps, renewable gas and geothermal.

The plan clearly shows that 40 per cent of Ireland’s heat can be provided by renewable sources primarily from bioenergy, heat pumps, renewable gas and district heating networks. There is no single solution to decarbonising our heating system but we can heat our homes, schools, hospitals and businesses using a combination of several different heating technologies.

Speaking at the launch of the plan Dr Tanya Harrington, Chairperson of REI, said:
“This plan shows how the renewable heat industry can play our part in delivering the ambition of a 7 per cent reduction in our CO2 emissions. This report is an agreed vision from across our industry and a call to action for the Government to set an ambitious 40 per cent renewable heat target by 2030 in the revised Climate Action Plan.”

The report identifies a large number of urgent policy interventions required from Government and industry to deliver 40by30 including:

  • Update the building regulations and BER assessment methodology to accurately reflect the decarbonisation benefits of renewable heat.
  • Make it simpler and easier for consumers/businesses to apply for  the financial incentives for renewable heat technologies.
  • Implement Article 23 of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) under the EU Clean Energy Package with a mandatory high ambition of at least 3% per annum.
  • Set Green Procurement targets for the public sector requiring a minimum annual increase in using renewable heat of 20% of demand and mandate that all new or replacement public sector heating systems must be 100% renewable.
  • Widen the supports for renewable heat in the Home Energy Grants and in the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) and incentivise large heat users to adopt renewable heat solutions.

Report Author, Xavier Dubuisson of XD Consulting, said:
“The 40by30 report provides decision-makers at national and local level a roadmap on how we can heat our homes, businesses, hospitals and industrial processes using Ireland’s vast renewable energy resources, and have a big impact on our climate challenge. The analysis we’ve conducted demonstrates that we can meet 40% of heat demand with renewable energy cost-effectively, making a direct contribution to Ireland’s 7% annual target in greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and creating 23,000 new permanent, fulltime jobs over this decade.”

Donna Gartland, CEO of the District Energy Association (IrDEA) said:
“This heat plan is the first of its kind in Ireland, bringing together all of the key industries in the Irish renewable heat sector and providing much needed input to the Government’s new ambitious CO2 targets for 2030. Based on the detailed cost-benefit analysis conducted, the findings highlight the key role district heating can play in decarbonising heat in Ireland, allowing us to deliver all types of large-scale renewable and low-carbon heat through the network with few or no changes required from the consumer.

“The reports shows district heating can provide 10 per cent of Ireland’s heating needs by 2030, meaning a rollout of district heating connecting 1% of the heat market per year, a target that has been achieved by climate leading countries in Europe since the 1960s.”

Paddy Phelan, President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) said:
“We are delighted to support the development of this vision for the renewable heat sector by Renewable Energy Ireland and its members across all of the renewable sectors and technologies. Bioenergy, including solid biomass and biogas/biomethane, as an indigenous, locally sourced, dispatchable energy source can deliver large emissions reductions across each heat sector and temperature range in Ireland.

“This plan sets a new vision and a clear pathway for how the Irish Government can deliver a 40% renewable heat target by 2030 while at the same time achieving the 7% carbon emissions per annum reductions.

“I call on Minister Ryan and the Government to adopt the 40by30 Renewable Heat Plan in the upcoming revision of the Climate Action Plan and to ramp up the supports for bioenergy to transition the heat sector away from fossil fuels such as imported gas and oil to deliver significant emissions reductions through widespread deployment of bioenergy”.

PJ Mc Carthy, CEO of Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) said:
“On behalf of members in the agri-food, beverages and biopharma industries as well as developers and shippers,  RGFI  was pleased to contribute to this wider partnership of sustainable energy associations and its shared vision.  This collaborative approach is the only way to achieve the 7% annual  COreduction  and will, we hope, be supported by Government . RGFI is already pursuing some of the measures and policy recommendations identified, such as the early implementation of Article 23 REDII . We are advocating and supporting consumer and sector led initiatives to decarbonise industrial heat demand requirements, with an independent business case for AD biomethane production, which also benefits the environment and rural economy.

“However,  a just energy transition in Ireland requires a range of approaches and affordability. Renewable gas (biomethane and BioLPG) plays an important role both on and off the gas grid, alongside other renewable heat technologies. Over 500,000 Irish properties have no connection to the natural gas distribution network; two-thirds currently rely on oil boilers for heating and fuel. BioLPG as a drop-in fuel, delivers up to 90% certified carbon emission savings compared to conventional fossil fuels.”

ENDS

Contact:
Seán Finan, CEO Irish Bioenergy Association and Administration for Renewable Heat Plan on behalf of REI, 0874146480

About Renewable Energy Ireland;
This report is the result of a study commissioned by Renewable Energy Ireland (REI). REI was established in January 2019 as an open partnership of sustainable energy associations working collectively to support the energy transition in Ireland. The shared vision is that by 2050 Ireland will be energy independent through using indigenous, clean, carbon-free renewable energy supported by, and supporting, communities across our country. Further details of the work of REI can be found at: https://renewableenergyireland.ie/

Key numbers in the 40by30 Report:

  • 40% Renewable Heat by 2030.
  • Achieves Programme for Government target of 7% CO2 reduction per annum.
  • Realising the 7% CO2 reduction with switching over 40% of our heat supply to indigenous renewable energy sources would result in the creation of an estimated 23,000 new permanent, full-time jobs over this decade.
  • Thermal energy use accounted for 40% (41 TWh/yr) of all energy used in 2018.
  • Thermal energy accounts for circa 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
  • Heat is responsible for 14 million tonnes of CO2 per year, a fifth of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • €3 billion was spent on heating in 2018 by domestic, business, public and industrial customers.
  • Ireland depends on fossil fuel imports for about 65% of its thermal energy use.
  • Reaching the 40% target would halve CO2 emissions from the heating sector to 7 MtCO2 by 2030.
  • Over two-thirds of the national heat demand is in buildings.
  • One third of the national heat demand is in industry.
  • Focus on the industrial sector is all the more important in that economic growth is projected to drive up the national heat demand by 14%.
  • Achieving the 40% renewable heat share, and delivering the 7% CO2 reduction per year required, is under 7% more costly than continuing with currently policy, which will deliver just over 20% renewable heat.
  • The extra overall system cost projected at ~€250 million per year will result in a saving of almost €600 million on imported fossil fuels.

Hitting the target would reduce Ireland’s dependency on total energy imports from 50% to 34%.

Wood as a Fuel – A newly published book, volumes 1 – 5

WOOD AS A FUEL comprises five volumes which describe the main woodfuels: firewood, woodchip and wood pellets. They comprehensively outline raw material sources, seasoning, drying and production processes, transportation and quality issues. Many examples of ways to improve product quality and efficiency are provided, designed to enable readers to produce and use high quality woodfuels.

The history of woodfuels, an outline of what wood is, and why it makes such a useful and versatile fuel are covered in the opening volume. Standards, the backbone of woodfuel trade, are outlined. Trade itself, and other relevant aspects of transacting woodfuel, round out the introductory volume. The final concluding volume comprises two parts. First combustion, wood ash and embedded energy are covered, while the second part deals with economic and sustainability aspects of woodfuels, including one of the main rationales for their use: tackling the climate emergency. Other topics covered include sustainable harvesting, and how modern bioenergy use leads to clean combustion. These volumes open a new window into woodfuels, providing an essential and comprehensive reference for all those engaged along the woodfuel chain.

The book costs €49.50, including postage and packing, and can bought through the books tab at Arrow Management

https://arrowmanagement.ie/products/?filters=product_cat%5Bbooks%5D

New report from MaREI Centre shows how Climate Bill can be delivered

A new report says a Net-Zero Energy System for Ireland is possible by 2050, it believes it is cost-effective and has the potential to create more than 50,000 jobs. Our Climate Neutral Future: Zeroby50 is published by MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, hosted by University College Cork, on behalf of Wind Energy Ireland.
The report is a call to action for the Government and for every level of Irish society. Minister for Environment, Climate Action and Communications Eamon Ryan TD welcomed the report: “We have set a national climate objective to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In the coming months we will develop a new Climate Action Plan to set out how we will achieve this.

Paul Deane writer of the report comments in LinkedIN as follows :

“Low levels of emissions reduction from agriculture require much higher levels of mitigation from cars, homes, and electricity to meet the Plan for Government 51% emissions reduction ambition by 2030. Food production will remain the main use of land in Ireland, but greater innovation and diversification of land use is needed. The structure and size of our national herd is a fundamental driver of emissions and efficiency improvements are not enough to meet targets. We must support options that provide alternatives (not additions) to livestock farming for families in the most unprofitable sectors. Options such as sustainable and certified biogas, energy crops with low land-use change, carbon farming with verifiable carbon sequestration, ecotourism and biodiversity protection must be explored”

James Cogan from Ethanol Europe and overseeing IrBEA’s Transport Working Group commented on the report:

‘Renewable wind electricity is clearly central to Ireland’s energy future…’ but notes that ‘renewable electricity can only be used in place of electricity, and right now there is essentially zero electricity in Irish transport.  The progress of blending sustainable bioliquids in conjunction with the deployment of electric vehicles is essential to reducing emissions in this sector.  There are simply no scenarios under which electromobility will scale up quick enough for the 2030 targets.  Market-ready bioliquids and biogas will be needed at four times the current usage rate in transport”.

“I’d appeal to policy makers to consider three key factors:  The number of conventional cars on our roads is still growing steadily, meaning that cars represent as a hard a sector to decarbonise as heavy goods or aviation.  There will be no hiding from this.   Second, carbon savings are like paying your mortgage – the earlier you start the better. Ireland should introduce E10 petrol immediately (petrol with 10% bioethanol in it), cutting 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually on top of the 100,000 cut by the 5% bioethanol that’s been in our petrol for the last few years.  Most EU countries have made the move already, with Sweden being the most recent.  Finally, our regulators need to embrace crop biofuels, which are market ready, proven and super sustainable, so long as they are sourced responsibly (which means in Europe).  Ireland could use ten times more crop biofuels than it does today and it would be the surest path to sustainable transport that we could wish for.”

Related article

The Irish Times says: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/energy-and-resources/report-shows-how-ireland-can-deliver-net-zero-energy-system-by-2050-1.4524135

UK moves to E10 petrol in September

It’s official.  The UK government is introducing E10 to its petrol pumps in the Autumn.

For some years now the policy process there has been about when and not if they’d do it, and the when has finally arrived.

This follows an increase in January this year in the UK, in the cost to fuel suppliers of buying out a biofuels cert instead of actually using biofuel, from 30 pence per litre to 50 pence.

E10 petrol is petrol with 10% bioethanol in it, up from the current 5% blend (E5) which UK and Irish drivers having been running on for years.  Bioethanol is pure alcohol, and it’s made by fermenting the sugars in grains, beet or cane.  As well as displacing oil in transport, bioethanol is the basis of most hand and surface sanitising products, as well as some popular beverages and an endless list of indispensable industrial products.  It is, after water, mankind’s most useful, versatile and sustainable liquid.

The position of Ireland’s department of the environment on E10 has always been the same as the UK:  when and not if.   The Irish government, with Eamon Ryan in charge of climate and energy, has yet to react one way or the other to the UK decision.   The department is traditionally very accessible and we have sent them an invite for a briefing on the UK move and its implications for Ireland.  We engaged actively with the UK Department for Transport during the period they were evaluating E10, and they even visited Ireland on a couple of occasions on our initiative, to engage with Irish stakeholders.  We believe we contributed valuable evidence to them in support of E10 and their ultimate decision in favour of it.

Ireland’s fuels industry, represented by Fuels For Ireland, is keen to follow the UK, and introduce E10 here simultaneously this year.  It has called on the government to mandate the use of E10 from 2021 onwards.  From a technical and standards perspective there’s nothing to stop the fuels industry from going ahead and doing it piecemeal, regardless of what the government does or doesn’t do, but apparently there are commercial and logistics challenges which are best overcome by everyone moving in unison.   The Irish and UK supply chains are closely related, so it makes sense for them to stick close.  All refineries can and do make both E5 and E10 grades so that’s not the question.  It’s actually the distribution and depot systems that need to be considered, because handling two distinct blends separately in the system, where before there was just one dominant blend, would be understandably unwieldy, especially where some parts of the distribution system are used by competing companies.

Fuel retailers won’t experience any change whatsoever, apart from a simple change to the pump labels, with the lettering E5 replaced by E10.  There are no compatibility or fuel mixing issues as E10 means any ethanol blend petrol, from 0% up to 10%, so consignments of E5 and E10 petrol can be mixed together perfectly happily in any ratio at any time.

Likewise our drivers won’t experience any change.  Just as the switch to E5 was imperceptible to them nearly ten years ago, so too will the switch to E10 now.   Their cars will perform a bit better and emit less particulate matter from the tailpipe because ethanol is both an excellent fuel in its own right and an excellent enhancer of traditional fuel, allowing engines operate leaner and cleaner.  Virtually all petrol cars on Irish roads were designed expressly to be at their optimum performance point on E10, and not on E5, and EU engine and emissions tests are referenced to E10.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter, which is why E10 was a good idea in the first place.

Ethanol is a fuel which, on a joule-for-joule basis, results in about 75% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional petrol, when the full lifecycle is considered.  Factor in that ethanol has a slightly lower energy density than petrol, and a 10% blend of ethanol by volume results in E10 being 5% or 6% less carbon intensive than conventional petrol with no bioethanol in it.   This may seem modest, but bearing in mind that Ireland has a million petrol cars on the roads, E10 is the equivalent to taking 50,000 of them out of service, in terms of carbon emissions reductions.   We would need around 100,000 electric vehicles to achieve the same progress.   Clearly Ireland needs both EVs and E10, but the point is that E10 brings that climate progress within the existing vehicle fleet, in an instant, and at no cost to the consumer or the exchequer.  France is rolling out 85% Superéthanol-E85 (requiring a discrete little €100 tuning adapter fitted to the engine) for the same reason, while many other countries have E15, E20 and E25 blends in the market.

Bioethanol is an anchor product for a biorefinery, so at our biorefinery in Hungary (www.pannoniabio.com), for every kilo of ethanol we make, there is also a kilo of protein rich GMO-free animal feed coming out of the process, plus some corn oil, biogas, fibre and some specialty biomaterials.   The protein animal feed on its own would be worth the effort, because if such feed is not coming from sustainable operations such as ours it’s virtually guaranteed to be coming from out-of-sight soy meal operations in the Americas.   In addition, the business assures much needed long term income stability for the farm sector and many thousands of quality jobs inside and outside the plant.   Collectively, the EU biofuels sector brings over 6 billion in incomes to EU farmers annually, which is equivalent to about 15% of the CAP programme (which is a great!).

Any downsides?   No, none whatsoever – bioethanol is all good.

The European Commission did introduce a blanket 7% cap on all biofuels made from crops in 2017, for fear that biofuels would grow to the point of being a danger rather than a good.   In the case of domestic European biofuels that fear was an abstract notion and not connected to any real world scenario.  In reality volumes of domestic biofuels could double, treble or quadruple and still be overwhelmingly more of a good thing than a danger.  Ireland is so far within the crop cap that the question is totally moot for us, so no matter what way you look at it E10 is the right way to go.

In the UK the RAC issued a caveat that a small percentage of cars were built before E10 became a world standard, and that the drivers of such cars should check for compatibility.   But there’s no need to check.  The USA has been using E10 in all of its 250 million petrol vehicles – of every conceivable type – for many years and not a single incident has ever been reported to the fuel suppliers, the car makers or the regulators.  Likewise a half dozen EU countries.  Just as importantly, no amount of technical analysis or engine and lab testing has ever resulted in evidence that might be a concern.  My advice is that it’s simply not an issue and that all cars, of every make, model and age run perfectly well on E10.

The bottom line is that E10 petrol is coming to the UK this year, it’s simple, easy and a win-win all round, and with a bit of luck it will arrive here too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An updated proposal from IrBEA to regulate the moisture content of firewood for sale in Ireland

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) has previously submitted an outline proposal to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment for the regulation by the Department of the moisture content of firewood for sale for domestic combustion. This document updates the previous proposal and suggests a pathway and timeline for regulation of the moisture content of firewood for sale.
The objectives of the proposal to regulate the moisture content of firewood for sale are:

  • To contribute to improving air quality in Ireland in the context of the developing Clean air
    Strategy, the recent EPA report Air Quality in Ireland 20181, and the CAFE Directive, and
  • To enable the continued use of sustainable firewood fuel in domestic heating as a replacement
    for fossil fuel and thereby contribute to climate change mitigation.

Read the full document here

IrBEA responds to consultation on the Draft National Air Pollution Control Programme

IrBEA responded to the Department of Environment, Climate Action and Communication  consultation on the draft National Air Pollution Control Programme (NAPCP) before the January 22nd deadline. The main points raised in the IrBEA response were as follows:

  • The draft NAPCP recognises proposals for roll out of a large number of heat pumps in domestic homes over the next decade. IrBEA highlighted that heat pumps will only be able to partially decarbonise our economy considering the cost of retrofit, availability of labour and age profile / energy efficiency of the housing stock across the country.
  • The decarbonisation of heat will need to include wood fuel systems in domestic houses, particularly in larger and older houses and those in rural areas.
  • Less than half of Irelands heating requirements are at temperatures suitable for heat pumps.
  • Any heating above 60OC will need to be decarbonised using a technology other than a heat pumps and bioenergy has a major part to play at all temperatures.
  • The use of properly designed appliances for wood fuels have a dramatic impact on particulate emissions
  • The draft NAPCP notes that solid fuels have traditionally been a source of particulate matter. In the report, it notes that from 1990 to 2018, air quality control measures have resulted in a reduction of particulate matter from residential heating by 73%. It noted that in the same period of time all other sources have reduced their emissions by approximately 30%.
  • To date firewood is not regulated and the market contains large quantities of wet firewood.
  • We highlighted that IrBEA is calling for the regulation of firewood to ensure that only dry firewood is sold on the market. We envisage significant reductions of emissions if firewood is regulated.
  • The draft NAPCP includes additional measures. IrBEA noted that the measures listed do not include some measures which have a significant impact in reducing particulate matter and other harmful emissions to air from solid fuel combustion. We propose that additional measures include:
  1. Regulation of wood fuels in Ireland to meet European standards.
  2. Regulation of firewood ensuring that no firewood may be placed for sale where the moisture content is above 20%.
  3. Regulations ensuring that only Eco-design appliances may be offered for sale in Ireland.
  • Specifically, we noted that section 4.2.2.3 listed wood as a major source of harmful emissions. We propose that this be altered to describe wet or unseasoned wood as being the major source of harmful emissions. We ask that the document recognise the positive aspects of properly dried wood fuel on air emissions.
  • We noted that fossil gas fuel is described in the document as a clean fuel. While in terms of localised air emissions fossil gas may be considered “clean”, we propose that the document recognises that fossil gas is not clean in the global context neither in terms of its point of extraction nor in terms of its overall impact on the climate
  • We object to the document proposing that fossil gas be considered as an ongoing or future solution to air emissions.

For further details on the IrBEA submission please contact IrBEA Technical Executive, Noel Gavigan at noelgavigan@irbea.org.

Full submission can be found here

Press Release: IrBEA meets Minister Ryan to set out the bioenergy priorities for 2021

For Immediate Release
20/01/2021

IrBEA meets Minister Ryan to set out the bioenergy priorities for 2021

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) met with Minister for Transport, Environment, Climate and Communication Networks, Eamon Ryan T.D. in recent days. The IrBEA representatives outlined the current work programme of the Association and priorities for 2021. At the meeting, Minister Ryan reaffirmed the Governments ambition to decarbonise the Irish Energy system by reducing emissions by 7% per annum surpassing EU targets.

Paddy Phelan, CEO of the Three Counties Energy Agency and President of IrBEA said “IrBEA members are identified as key to providing sustainable solutions to deliver this ambitious 7% target. The role of Bioenergy is clear in reducing emissions in agriculture, electricity, heat and transport. Bioenergy also supports rural development, rural enterprise and jobs and provides clean energy through local supply chains. Land use planning is crucial in the development of indigenous sustainable bioenergy resources from the existing forestry estate and opportunities for other measures such as agroforestry, energy crops and biogas to reduce emissions across the energy sectors”.

The impact of delays in the forestry licensing system was highlighted during the meeting. Timber, Energy and the growth of the Bioeconomy are all key deliverables of a thriving Forest sector.

Maurice Ryan, Director at Greenbelt and IrBEA Vice President said “the continuing delays in licensing from the Forest Service is severely impacting the forest sector. Forestry has huge potential and a very important role to play in supporting the agriculture industry in reducing our emissions. Forestry delivers timber, energy and for the bioeconomy. Forestry can promote biodiversity and land use improvement. These are mutually important topics and need to be part of future discussions.”

The failure to achieve 2020 renewable energy targets was acknowledgement at the meeting. It was noted that investing the 50 million euro fine paid by the Irish taxpayer for not achieving Renewable Heat target since 2010 would have been better invested over the years in Renewable Heat supports which promoted sustainable local biomass supply chains for supply of renewable fuel.

Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “Growth in Bioenergy needs to be recognised as one of the key climate actions to deliver sustainable clean energy for heat, transport and electricity that compliments jobs and enterprise through local value chains replacing imported fossil fuels.  Lack of supports historically for Bioenergy has resulted in failed renewable energy target delivery in Ireland.  In IrBEA, we will work with Minister Ryan, his department and SEAI to assist in the delivery of the challenging renewable energy targets for 2030 and always highlight the key role that Bioenergy has in this regard. Bioenergy has many socio-economic benefits locally and regionally which justify the need to invest in the required supports for Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels instead of buying the Renewable Energy credits from other EU members states”.

Paddy Phelan IrBEA President concluded “I was encouraged by the commitment from the Minister to the Climate Targets for 2030 and highlighting the role IrBEA members have in decarbonising the heat, electricity and transport sector in Ireland through increased use of Bioenergy including Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels. Lack of supports historically in heat and transport resulted in failed renewable heat target delivery in 2020.  The revised EU Emissions targets of 55% reduction by 2030 is key and IrBEA will be collaborating with the Minister, his Department and the SEAI in the development of the revised National Climate Action Plan in 2021.”

Ends

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

Notes to Editors:
The main items discussed at the meeting included:

  • SSRH: Need for full roll out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) in 2021 now that project inspections and payments have commenced by SEAI in late 2020.
  • Biomethane Support Scheme: Potential for a support scheme for Biomethane injection was discussed with the Minister but no positive indication was given by the Minister whether there would be a support or not in the future. The Minister cited concerns regarding biodiversity, potential increased use of chemical fertilizer and further intensification of agriculture associated with a medium to large scale biomethane industry. IrBEA highlighted that our policy paper “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action” (Reference[1]) developed jointly with our partners Industry partners Cré addresses Minister Ryan’s concerns.
  • Farm scale Biogas: IrBEA briefed the Minister on the work of the Association through our Department of Agriculture funded European Innovation Partnership project to demonstrate the potential for small scale farm based Anaerobic Digestion plants on Irish farms.
  • Dry Wood Fuels: The campaign by IrBEA for the introduction of regulation of the moisture content of firewood for sale to address air emissions issues was positively received by the Minister.
  • Heat Plan: The development of a Heat Plan for Ireland through Renewable Energy Ireland which IrBEA is a member of was highlighted. The role of bioenergy to decarbonise heat at all temperature ranges and across all sectors was emphasised. The example of Danone Milk Powder Plant in Wexford was cited as a great example of local woodchip supply chains meeting climate targets and for its achievement in being certification as the first carbon neutral baby formula plant in the world using local wood fuel biomass. (Reference [2])
  • Transport Plan: IrBEA outlined its proposal to develop a plan for decarbonisation of the transport sector which will be ready for publication in Q2 2021.
  • Forest Sector: The impact of delays in the forestry licensing system and impact was highlighted.

References:

  1. https://www.irbea.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/IrBEA-Cre-Biogas-Policy-Paper-Final_1.pdf
  2. https://www.danone.com/stories/articles-list/danone-wexford-becoming-the-first-carbon-neutral-baby-formula-plant-in-the-world.html