The Sustainable Energy RD&D call

SEAI has announced the first of two calls for proposals for the Sustainable Energy RD&D Programme. With a total fund of €1m, the programme aims to improve the coherence of Irish energy research and development, building a cleaner and more secure energy future, while enhancing the country’s knowledge economy. The deadline for the first call is 1st April. A second call is due to open on 1st May. See guidelines and application form here

Videos of speakers’ presentations – National Bioenergy Conference, 3 Feb 2016

In response to requests, IrBEA is now providing a click-and-view of the presentations from the National Bioenergy Conference held on 3rd February. Each of the nine speaker presentations are available in full (sound and vision), and this new service for IrBEA members and other interested parties provides more enduring value from our quality speaker line-up. See videos on the IrBEA homepage here and if you would like to see the press releases and presentations (pdf), view here.

BioEnergy Working Group 3 Consultation

DCENR set up four working groups in 2014 to allow consultation on the National Bioenergy Plan.
Working Group 3 (Biomass Supply Chains) met in December (2015) and reviewed the following proposed changes to the BioEnergy Plan

Changes

BioEnergy Plan

We are now asked to comment on these proposed changes, by the end of this week. The changes are only 3 pages so its quite fast to do.
We are asking members to have a look at the proposed changes and send your comments / suggestions to myself by close of business Thursday. I will compile IrBEA’s response and send in by Friday this week.

Some of the main changes we are considering are:
7.1  Propose changes to legislation to allow sludge to be spread on energy crops. This is currently only allowed with a waste permit, where as sludge can be spread without a waste permit on food crops!
7.3 We received a proposal to make B-Train trucks legal. B-Trains are essentially twin trailers, and will lower the transport costs of light bulky materials like wood chip.
9 Retain the sentence “Additional funding will be required in the period to 2020 to fund the establishment of the bioenergy sector”
9.2 Is there a need to legislate or regulate for district heating?  we would be interested in members views. Also we will be calling for all public buildings to be required to embrace district heating where it is available and economic

We welcome your comments on the above.

With Best Regards,

Noel Gavigan

DAFM land availability for forestry – report launch

Prepared by the Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), this Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine report launched on 14 January outlines the physical land resource that is potentially available for afforestation and makes a series of recommendations on how to increase the level of planting. The report states: “On lands classified as being ‘limited’ for agriculture, representing 1.8 million hectares, there is wider scope for afforestation. These lands have a higher proportion of difficult soils, often economically marginal for agriculture, with forestry presenting a viable alternative land use option.” See press release and link to document

COP21 Paris agreement on Climate Change

The Paris agreement on Climate Change is historic, but the text is complicated, and so what does it actually mean? Here’s theEuropean Commission summary. The Guardian  in the UK sheds some clarity on the high-level/macro meaning. This Irish Independent article outlines what was agreed by the 195 countries, while a second Irish Indo article examines the implications for the agri-food sector. And for those of you with time on your hands, here’s the full downloadable agreement from the UNFCCC website.

IrBEA move to Dublin office – DCU Alpha

In early January 2016 IrBEA is moving from the current office in Carlow to a new base at Dublin City University Alpha (formerly called DCU Innovation Campus). While the Carlow office has served the association well, the new premises provides a more dynamic environment to explore opportunities for collaboration and communication, for example with DCU education, campus companies and with IrBEA members. A new phone number will be notified shortly. The new address is: Unit 104, DCU Alpha, Old Finglas Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 11, D11KXN4

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.

Renewable heat incentive – needed now more than ever

Delayed Government policy is halting heat market development and job creation. IrBEA is lobbying for more urgent action from Government. Read IrBEA blog

Update on Energy Crops Support

Eugene Hendrick (Department of Agriculture) Chairs a Working Group on biomass supply, and addressed the meeting Stakeholder Meeting with DCENR 24 Nov 2015. He reported that the bioenergy scheme, which has funded energy crops for several years, is currently closed pending a review in early 2016. A new forest-fibre scheme is also being assessed, which is looking at further unlocking of resources, and also possibly short rotation forestry (SRF).