Update on Biogas Action Project is Supported by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme

The Biogas Action project is supported by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme to serve as a vehicle for boosting the development of the European biogas/biomethane sector. It aims at promoting biogas development in the target countries/regions Southeast and Western part of France, Wales/UK, Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Denmark, Latvia and Southeast Sweden enabled by proven support strategies and guidelines. The project’s aim is to dissemination at broad European scale and encourage learning and good practice in other countries and regions. Click to the newsletter here

Ireland’s Bioenergy Day – From 18th December We Rely Solely on Bioenergy to Meet Our Energy Demand

Bioenergy is Europe’s leading renewable energy source. According to Eurostat data and calculations by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), bioenergy will account for 11% of the final energy consumption in the EU-28 this year. Other renewable energy sources, like hydropower, wind, solar and geothermal, stand for another 7%. But still, non-renewable energy makes up 82% of the EU’s energy use.
For the EU as a whole, this means that all energy use from 21st November until the end of the year will come from bioenergy, and therefore AEBIOM has already celebrated the European Bioenergy Day on 21st November.

All countriesv1 (Click for more detail)

2017 has been pivotal for the future of bioenergy across Europe and Ireland. Bioenergy in particular is expected to provide Ireland with 13 days of energy. As the EU discusses its new renewable energy objectives – including policies with significant impact on our country – The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) has joined a group of 20 other associations in the launch of a new information campaign to remind the leading role played by bioenergy in the energy transition. Other EU member states with high shares of bioenergy are Finland (33%), Latvia (31%), Estonia (27%), Denmark (25%), Lithuania (22%), and Austria and Romania (both 20%).  Sweden is showing the way by using bioenergy in all sectors of society, in heating, power production, industry and for transport. 20% of all transport fuels are already biofuels in Sweden. A major reason behind the Swedish success story on bioenergy is the Swedish carbon taxation and broad political support. With strong general incentives, the market actors have implemented smart and cost-efficient technologies to use biomass for energy. Despite the large use of bioenergy from forests, the standing volume of the Swedish forests has almost doubled in the last century.

Public support for renewables is at a reasonable high across Ireland with the recent announcement of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) going through the final consultation phase with Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE) – yet most of us find difficult to weigh the contribution of bioenergy in the energy transition. In order to grasp the importance of this often-neglected source of renewable energy, IrBEA has joined the Bioenergy Day campaign, recently launched by a group of national and international associations led by AEBIOM (European Biomass Association). Its aim is to offer a clearer understanding of where both the EU and individual Member States stand in the development of bioenergy.

As far as Ireland is concerned, moving beyond 2020 and EU targets, 2030 commitments have been already made under the revised EU RES Directive. This is useful to support the development of national legislation, but we should not need to be continually nudged along by EU targets and the threat of sanctions. This is not the best approach to policy-making. In a post-Brexit world – there is a need for a national vision, embraced by our citizens and our public representatives. Things should be done because of the threats posed by climate change, rather than undertaking them because we signed up to an EU target.

The 18th December is the symbolic date that IrBEA has chosen to celebrate Ireland’s Bioenergy Day, the day from which Ireland could be fuelled by bioenergy alone until the end of the year.

Considering that Bioenergy Day falls on the December 18th (just 13 days on bioenergy), Ireland needs to speed up its deployment of bioenergy throughout the country by a full implementation within the national energy strategy, in order to demonstrate a commitment matching that of the European Union.
‘Looking to the future, more needs to be done to bolster bioenergy in Ireland, which has considerable potential to help drive the energy transition. IrBEA is leading this energy transition through the government and at European Commission level to contribute to policy development and regulatory details to develop sustainable bioenergy markets. The recent announcement of the Support Scheme for Renewable heat (SSRH) is a very welcome development for the bioenergy sector in Ireland, one that has been stagnant for almost 5 years since 2013 whereby many Irish companies have subsequently gone out of business and perhaps why we can only rely on bioenergy for 13 days. There will be new opportunities now to stimulate growth for those businesses in the biomass supply side and indeed the biomass technology provider of which we have many as members of the Irish Bioenergy Association.’ says Ger Devlin, IrBEA CEO.

According to IrBEA, Ireland’s bioenergy sector should aspire to move the date to October by 2030, leveraging on an untapped, sustainable stock of biomass materials. Being currently produced from a great diversity of raw materials such as wood pellets and chips, straw, vegetable oil, manure, agro-industrial and organic waste, bioenergy has plenty of ways to reach that target – including unconventional materials and innovative technologies.

Contact us
Visit the campaign’s website: www.europeanbioenergyday.eu
IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference www.bioenergyfutureireland.com
Dr Ger Devlin – IrBEA CEO ger.devlin@irbea.org
Follow us on Twitter @IrishBioenergy and @BioenergyI

Renewable Heat Incentive – Closer Than Ever Before

Press Release 2017/12

The Irish Bioenergy Association welcomes the introduction of the long awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) today (7 Dec 2017) by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD. An RHI scheme was first officially conceived as part of the Bioenergy strategy consultation in May 2013, and formally announced in the October 2014 Draft Bioenergy Plan but was never delivered. After much lobbying activities and design consultations by IrBEA and other players in the bioenergy sector in the interim, the biomass industry will now see an RHI scheme live in 2018.

“This is a very welcome development for the bioenergy sector in Ireland, one that has been stagnant for almost 5 years since 2013 whereby many Irish companies have subsequently gone out of business. There will be new opportunities now to stimulate growth for those businesses in the biomass supply side and indeed the biomass technology provider of which we have many as members of the Irish Bioenergy Association. As well as helping to meet the EU heat targets of 12% (currently 6.8%) by 2020 it will play a role in reducing potential fines come 2020. It is perhaps disappointing not see any support for biomethane gas grid injection from AD in this phase but there are still supports for AD heating technologies and of course biomass heating technologies which is a positive. Certainly the ambition to have a scheme open to applicants in 2018 is welcome, but this Government approval is still subject to EU state aid approval. The tiered rates are generally positive but they do not favour the larger type installations offering a subsidy of only 0.05 c/kWh which is where the biggest opportunity exists to close the gap in the renewable heat target” says Ger Devlin IrBEA CEO.
The scheme will support the adoption of renewable heating systems by commercial, industrial, district heating and other non-domestic heat users at sites not covered by the emissions trading scheme. There are also installation grants available up to 30% for the installation of heat pumps. A separate budget would be favoured for such a grant scheme.

 

About the Irish Bioenergy Association

Dr Ger Devlin is CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association. With over 200 members, IrBEA is the national association representing the bioenergy industry on the island of Ireland. The main objectives of the association are to influence policy makers, to promote the development of bioenergy and to promote the interests of its members. Improving public awareness, networking and information sharing and liaising with similar interest groups are other key areas of work in promoting biomass as an environmental, economic and socially-sustainable energy resource. www.irbea.org and www.bioenergyfutureireland.com

Links
DCCAE Press Release on RHI (7 December) here
New €1bn Renewable Heat Scheme Unveiled for Irish firms – Irish Times  (7 December) here

ENDS

Renewable Heat Incentive – Closer Than Ever Before

Press Release 2017/12

The Irish Bioenergy Association welcomes the introduction of the long awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) today by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD. An RHI scheme was first officially conceived as part of the Bioenergy strategy consultation in May 2013, and formally announced in the October 2014 Draft Bioenergy Plan but was never delivered. After much lobbying activities and design consultations by IrBEA and other players in the bioenergy sector in the interim, the biomass industry will now see an RHI scheme live in 2018.
“This is a very welcome development for the bioenergy sector in Ireland, one that has been stagnant for almost 5 years since 2013 whereby many Irish companies have subsequently gone out of business. There will be new opportunities now to stimulate growth for those businesses in the biomass supply side and indeed the biomass technology provider of which we have many as members of the Irish Bioenergy Association. As well as helping to meet the EU heat targets of 12% (currently 6.8%) by 2020 it will play a role in reducing potential fines come 2020. It is perhaps disappointing not see any support for biomethane gas grid injection from AD in this phase but there are still supports for AD heating technologies and of course biomass heating technologies which is a positive. Certainly the ambition to have a scheme open to applicants in 2018 is welcome, but this Government approval is still subject to EU state aid approval. The tiered rates are generally positive but they do not favour the larger type installations offering a subsidy of only 0.05 c/kWh which is where the biggest opportunity exists to close the gap in the renewable heat target” says Ger Devlin IrBEA CEO.
The scheme will support the adoption of renewable heating systems by commercial, industrial, district heating and other non-domestic heat users at sites not covered by the emissions trading scheme. There are also installation grants available up to 30% for the installation of heat pumps. A separate budget would be favoured for such a grant scheme.

About the Irish Bioenergy Association

Dr Ger Devlin is CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association. With over 200 members, IrBEA is the national association representing the bioenergy industry on the island of Ireland. The main objectives of the association are to influence policy makers, to promote the development of bioenergy and to promote the interests of its members. Improving public awareness, networking and information sharing and liaising with similar interest groups are other key areas of work in promoting biomass as an environmental, economic and socially-sustainable energy resource. www.irbea.org and www.bioenergyfutureireland.com

Links
DCCAE Press Release on RHI (7 December) here
New €1bn Renewable Heat Scheme Unveiled for Irish firms – Irish Times  (7 December) here

ENDS

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar Visits the Clonroche Biomass Processing Hub in Co. Wexford

Photo: IrBEA President Des O’Toole with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, Paul Kehoe TD, Andrew Doyle TD and Michael D’Arcy TD visiting a Biomass Processing Hub in Wexford
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar visited the Clonroche biomass processing hub in Co. Wexford on Sunday 5th November. This hub, operated by T&A Byrne Renewables, services a range of commercial and industrial scale biomass energy clients for both Coillte and Clearpower in the South East and uses predominantly Coillte and the gradually emerging private sector log resource for its supply of biomass. Coillte and Clearpower are both longstanding members of IrBEA.
An Taoiseach, along with his colleagues, Paul Kehoe TD, Andrew Doyle TD and Michael D’Arcy TD saw first-hand the contribution a regional processing hub of this scale makes to the local economy as well as hearing the many benefits in terms of displacing imported fossil fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mobilising Ireland’s forestry resources. The hub comprises of a large secure log storage yard and fuel storage sheds. Coillte logs are sourced and delivered on a pre-planned basis several months in advance. The logs are systematically stacked for open air drying down to the target moisture content. The processing hub, established by T&A Byrne is one of the largest supply hubs of its kind in the country.
One of the processing hub’s major Coillte clients is Glaxosmithkline (GSK) and their use of woody biomass displaces millions of litres of oil annually. GSK is a science-led global healthcare company that develops a range of medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. For GSK, investing in a biomass plant supports their global carbon reduction objectives and a long term commitment to the Dungarvan site and the local employment it underpins. With Coillte as an exemplar energy supply partner for this project, GSK are further committed to protecting resources and safeguarding the environment.

Report on ‘Growing the Irish Bioeconomy’ – COFORD Report September 2017

The gross output of the Irish forest sector is set to double by 2035 against a backdrop of increasing carbon constraint, this creates many opportunities for the Irish Bioeconomy. COFORD have produced a report on Growing the Irish Forest Bioeconomy which provides a vision of a healthy forest bioeconomy, creating sustainable jobs in rural Ireland and supporting national land-use carbon reduction and climate adaption objectives. It is an accessible document with plenty of infographics, key points and statistics. It includes an interesting piece on ‘12 Proposals for Growing a Vibrant Forest Bioeconomy in Ireland’, view the report here

Western Development Commission & SEAI Undertakes Biomass Survey in Ireland

The Western Development Commission (WDC) along with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) are tasked to complete a regional renewable energy analysis on the use of biomass as a local contribution to the national renewable heat target. They wish to develop a range of actions to support the development of renewable energy in the region under the Action Plan for Jobs. This will inform how we support and develop biomass use in this region. They are keen to understand more about how businesses operate their own heating systems and if they have any plans for further biomass investment or use.  They would also like to know your general views on the biomass sector.

All information provided will be treated in strict confidence, you are encouraged to participation in this on-line questionnaire and contribute to the report. Start the questionnaire here

Bord na Móna Bioenergy Plan to Invest in Wood Pellet plant in US to Secure Biomass Supply

Mark Paul reported in the Irish Times (19 September)  that Bord na Móna intend  to invest up to €60 million in a proposed new wood pellet plant in the US state of Georgia that could be operational within two years. The company wants to construct the facility to turn willow trees into pellets, which will then be shipped back to Ireland to fire power stations. It is part of Bord na Móna’s strategy to shift away from its core peat business towards more renewable energy sources, especially biomass. Bord na Móna say they are forced to invest abroad while the Irish biomass-supply industry is ramped up to meet demand. The proposed investment is currently with the government’s New Era division for approval. View the Irish Times Article here

Article in TheJournal.ie  – ‘Leo’s Approach to the RHI scheme’

As we know Ireland’s Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) is bringing its version of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to Ireland, here the scheme is explained to the public in simple terms. It discusses the aim of the scheme which is to help Ireland reduce its 12% target in the renewable heating sector by 2020. It quotes the key figures – that 6.6% of heat demand was derived from renewable sources in 2016, which means we need to double that in the next two years to hit those all-important EU targets.

For IrBEA getting this data into the public domain is important, educating everyone as a whole on the benefits of the system are key to getting the scheme up and running. One of the points made in this article is how this scheme aims to differ from the Northern Ireland RHI scheme which failed to control costs and attracted negative publicity over the last year. Energy Minister Denis Naughten is quoted as saying “The lessons learned from the Northern Ireland scheme are being integrated into the design of the Renewable Heat Incentive,” Read the whole article here

Ger Devlin interviewed by Irish Farmers Journal – Key Issues for the RHI Scheme

Irish Bioenergy Association executives were at the Ploughing, Ger Devlin (IRBEA CEO) took part in the panel talks at the Bord na Móna stand that included Matt Cooper of TodayFM as host, as well as Patrick Madigan (Head of Biomass BNM), Mike Quinn (BNM CEO), Cormac O’ Carroll (Poyry Consulting) and Minister Naughten.The Minister commented that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme was expected to unlock the indigenous biomass industry and will be finalised as part of Budget 2018, adding “The RHI is part of the whole budget discussion at the moment. I’m meeting with [Finance Minister] Paschal Donohoe next week”

Ger Devlin in addition to the panel talked to Thomas Hubert of the Farmers Journal and commented that the key message for the Minister when delivering the RHI is the correct price point for the tariff so that there is a positive uptake and timing to stimulate confidence back into the bioenergy industry in Ireland.

Listen to the full interview with Ger Devlin and Thomas Hubert, at the podcast link below (5 mins): Podcast link