IrBEA Launched INTERREG NW Europe funded THREE C Project on 20th October 2020

The Irish Bioenergy Association launched the THREE C project to the Irish stakeholders as part of the Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2020. With over 100 registered for the webinar, attendees were given an introduction to the bioeconomy sector and its potential here in Ireland. This was followed by an overview of the THREE C workplan and the type of biochar based products and services that are being considered as part of the project. Attendees also heard from Welsh neighbours and THREE C project partners about their involvement in the project and plans at a farm level. Pioneering biochar product development was the topic of the final presentation and this was followed by a question and answers session and panel discussion.

If you were unable to attend you can view the live recording here  and presentations here

If you wish to find out more or to get involved in the project, please contact stephenmccormack@irbea.org

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA outlines Bioenergy priorities ahead of the Budget

For Immediate Release:
09/10/2020

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.”

ENDS.

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.

IrBEA Budget Lobbying Document 2020 Pdf

PRESS RELEASE: The Irish Bioenergy opportunity is immense – New IrBEA President Paddy Phelan


This week the new President and Vice President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) were elected by the Management Executive Committee of the organisation. Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 County Energy Agency was elected the new President and  Maurice Ryan, Director and Business Development at Green Belt was elected the new Vice President. They both take up their roles at a time of great opportunity for the organisation and the Irish Bioenergy sector as the economy begins to reopens again following Covid 19.

Accepting the new role, IrBEA President Paddy Phelan said “I am delighted to take on the role of IrBEA President. I look forward to working with members and all stakeholders for the betterment and advancement of the sector. The Irish Bioenergy opportunity is immense. This opportunity has yet to be recognised at a political or policy level with adequate action and support measures which are necessary for the widespread deployment of bioenergy. Sustainably produced bioenergy will play a key role in Irelands transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy. The bioenergy sectors covering biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels, are a key part of the overall bioeconomy and have a significant part to play in its growth and development. As well as contributing towards Ireland’s renewable energy targets, the sector can be the catalyst to drive jobs and economic growth in rural Ireland while assisting to address the climate change and emissions reduction challenges we face as a country and people”.

Paddy Phelan continued “I’m committed to working with the IrBEA membership and broader stakeholders to promote the deployment of bioenergy produced in locally energy supply networks. In IrBEA, we continue to lobby and advocate for supports to ensure that bioenergy contributes as part of a mix of renewable energy technologies. Our objective should be to provide 100% of our energy demand by 2050 from renewable sources. Promoting local energy supply is very important. Rural Ireland can provide energy to nearby urban centres which need renewable and dispatchable bioenergy to support industry and particularly the Agri food-industry. This is all linked back to the broader rural Agri sector. The capacity for agricultural diversification and for agriculture to be a net contributor to carbon sequestration through bioenergy production is immense. Bioenergy is a mature industry across Europe and alongside other renewable energy technologies makes up the majority of energy production in many regions. This means that the region retains the value of that energy. When consumers buy that energy they are buying local”

Maurice Ryan, IrBEA Vice President said  “I am delighted to have been elected to the role of Vice President of IrBEA. IrBEA has proved to be an invaluable organisation for the bioenergy sector and a great support to promote the mobilisation of timber from the private sector. I look forward to promoting the broad value bioenergy brings to the country, and the future opportunities that will present over the next number of years. The team is extremely strong and positive and will certainly deliver value to all members and stakeholders.”

The organisation would like to acknowledge the work of Des O’Toole who has concluded a 3 year term as IrBEA President.

Paddy Phelan concluded “I would like to acknowledge the work of my predecessor Des O’Toole and thank him for his efforts and commitment to the development of the organisation and sector during his time in the role. Everyone in IrBEA wishes Des the best of luck in his career.”

Video of Paddy Phelan speaking HERE

Ends

For Further information please contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO at 0874146480

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA presents bioenergy proposals for economic recovery and climate action in Programme for Government 15/05/20

Press Release for Immediate Release:

15/05/2020

IrBEA presents bioenergy proposals for economic recovery and climate action in Programme for Government

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) in recent weeks has circulated its Programme for Government proposals to political representatives across all political parties and independent groups. The organisation continues to lobby for the Programme for Government to incorporate bioenergy measures and supports to assist economic recovery, emissions reduction targets and climate action.

Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “we are calling on all political parties and independent groupings to embrace renewable energy as a robust means to rebuild the Irish economy after Covid 19. Our detailed document reflects the views of the association’s members across the island of Ireland. It lays out the opportunities through bioenergy for job creation, addressing the climate emergency, enhancing Irelands trade balance and encouraging rural economic activity while at the same time delivering cost savings for many energy users”.

Ireland has a considerable natural advantage when It comes to growing fuel crops such as wood fuel, biomass energy crops and feedstock for anaerobic digestion. Ireland is second last of EU member states in terms of its use of renewable heat. Ireland has had the best part of the last decade to meet renewable energy targets and has failed.

Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive of IrBEA said “the new government must now focus on the serious task of meeting 2030 emissions targets and must place this at the centre of its policy agenda moving forward. 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, reducing emissions and addressing climate change through quadrupling our bioenergy industry is a remarkable opportunity. All the sectors of bioenergy including biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels offer significant potential for growth through policy incentives and measures”

In conclusion, Seán Finan IrBEA CEO said “the world is in the middle of the Covid 19 crisis. Economic recovery is a task that will involve all of society and a new approach.  Embracing the opportunities presented by the bioenergy sectors are immense. Dedicated supports and measures to the sector are required to make this opportunity a reality ”.

 

Ends

 

For Further information contact

Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, 0874146480

Notes to Editors:

 

Summary of the Bioenergy measures which IrBEA would like to see included in the Programme for Government covering the sectors of Biomass, Biogas, Biofuels, Energy Crops and Wood Fuels include:

 

  • Greater financial resources to fully implement the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) to expand the timescale, size and scope of the support scheme via a ring-fenced budget allocation allied to aggressive promotion to ensure growth in renewable heat through biomass and biogas.
  • Advocating for mandatory renewable heating use to be in place by all public bodies by 2035.
  • Introduction of statutory regulation of the moisture content of wood fuels in accordance with the international wood fuel standard – ISO 17225. This is needed to deliver cleaner air, enhance public health and drive the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy at a domestic level.
  • Calling on the Government to re-establish the Energy Crops support scheme considering market development through the SSRH. This scheme would assist in meeting local biomass demand, to promote diversification of agriculture and to provide alternative income for farmers.
  • Calling for the proposed Biogas support scheme for medium to large scale cooperative style biogas plants detailed in the IrBEA/Cré Biogas policy paper to be implemented on a phased basis.
  • Calling for the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) to ringfence funding for modern bioenergy-based technologies such as combined heat and power, providing efficiencies up to and above 90%. Importantly these technologies have the added advantages of providing dispatchable power with grid stability benefits, community involvement and rural development in line with existing climate change polices.
  • The transition to higher blending rates of E12 Biodiesel blend over a period. This means upping the % of Biodiesel in diesel to 12% which comes at no extra cost to the consumer or the exchequer and requires no investment or change in infrastructure or vehicles.
  • The immediate transition to higher blending rates of E10 ethanol petrol blend. This means upping the % of ethanol in petrol to 10% which comes at no extra cost to the consumer or the exchequer and requires no investment or change in infrastructure or vehicles.
  • Introduction of a fuel price support for biomethane as a fuel for heavy goods and industrial vehicles to maximise proven environmental benefits.

 

IrBEA work with Members & SEAI regarding Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) Applications

IrBEA has held recent meetings with SEAI on issued highlighted by members regarding the approval, sign off and other aspects of SSRH Applications. We recently communicated with members who install biomass systems highlighting the issues identified to date and sought feedback on any other recurring issues. We realise the urgency to address issues arising and as the industry representative body, we will be meeting SEAI as soon as possible to address and find practical solutions to the issues identified. We will follow up with members once the meetings have taken place.  If any member would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to get in touch with Seán Finan IrBEA CEO (seanfinan@irbea.org).

IrBEA Meet EPA on proposal to regulate moisture content of firewood for sale in Ireland 23/03/2020

IrBEA CEO Seán Finan and Wood Fuel Quality Assurance committee chairman Eugene Hendrick met with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air emissions officials recently to discuss the IrBEA proposals to regulate the moisture content of firewood for sale in Ireland. This meeting was part of an ongoing lobbying campaign for the introduction of regulations by the Department of the Environment in this area. The IrBEA proposal which have been developed in consultation with WFQA member wood fuel suppliers is very important to improve the standard and quality of wood fuels on the market and reduce particulate emissions from wood fuels at a domestic level. Research clearly articulates that there is a direct correlation between wet wood fuels and high particulate emissions. Particulate emissions are dramatically reduced from the burning of dry wood fuels. IrBEA will continue its lobbying efforts in this area for the introduction of regulation on phased basis over a specific timeframe. Full details of the IrBEA proposals are available HERE.

IrBEA Biomass Heating Systems Designers Register & Training – Dublin 18th – 19th February 2020

Introduction

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is working on a Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) RD&D Project to develop a Biomass Designers and Installers Register. In 2019, IrBEA ran 2 successful Biomass Practitioners courses in February and July. The courses focusing on the key aspects of design and installation of biomass heating systems. We are now seeking attendees for the next training course on the Tuesday 18th & Wednesday 19th of February which will take place at a DCU Innovation Centre, Finglas Road, Dublin 11. Places are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. If you are interested in participating please contact IrBEA CEO Seán Finan at seanfinan@irbea.org or 087-4146480.

Background to this Project
Members have reported that some commercial biomass installations over the years have not functioned correctly and have been turned off. There are a multitude of reasons for systems not working including poor design, incorrect installations, incorrect fuels used or poor maintenance of the system. IrBEA’s objective is to create a register of competent and professional Biomass Designers and Installers who have demonstrated a level of experience, have undertaken the training course and who fulfil certain criteria.
What is the Benefit of the Biomass Designers and Installers Registers?
The Biomass Designers and Installers Register are two separate registers of companies who specialize in the design and/or installation of Biomass Heating Systems. The register will act as a useful reference point for heat users who wish to employ a competent biomass system designer or installer.

Biomass Practitioners Training Course
The 2-day Biomass Practitioners Training course is a mandatory requirement for inclusion on both Biomass Installers and Designers register.  The course is presented by industry expert David Palmer. David is an experienced specialist with extensive expertise and knowledge in the design and installation of biomass heating systems. The aim of this course is to refresh designers and installers and improve participants knowledge of design and install of biomass heating systems. To find out more please contact IrBEA CEO Seán Finan at seanfinan@irbea.org or 087-4146480.

IrBEA Press Release – Wood Fuels Need to be Treated Differently to Other Solid Fuels

The Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) and the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme notes with great concern press reports today that the government may be considering a nationwide ban on burning all solid fuels to solve air quality and emissions issues regardless of their individual potential. IrBEA are objecting to wood fuels being potentially treated in the same way as fossil fuels, and essentially being tarred with the same brush. Wood fuels are an essential part in assisting Ireland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and transiting to a low carbon economy. Properly dried and combusted, wood fuel is an environmentally safe fuel. Our organisation is specifically focused on developing wood fuels for their considerable benefits in terms of reduction of greenhouse gases and for providing a cost-effective and sustainable source of heating and efficient combined heat and power. IrBEA through the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme is specifically focused on developing quality wood fuels for consumers. Wood Fuels contribute added benefits in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuels while providing a cost-effective and sustainable source of heating and efficient combined heat and power.

Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive with the Irish Bioenergy Association and Manager of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme states “we unquestionably must look to reducing all emissions of particulate matter and CO2, wood fuel offers over 90% reduction in greenhouse gases over fossil fuels. By only using properly dried wood fuels we can immediately reduce any particulate emissions to one third, further to this by using better technology such as enclosed stoves and now EU certified Ecodesign stoves, emissions are reduced by 89%.”

With the government proposal to consider a ban on using all solid fuels we would essentially remove Irelands potential to use its own natural resource. The state and private land owners have heavily invested in establishing forests, an investment that is provides valuable wood products for use in the Irish economy, in wood fuels, board products, and sawn timber and in other uses.
Gavigan concluded “Earlier this year we submitted a detailed, evidence-based proposal to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on talking the issue of totally unsuitable wet firewood being placed on the market and the implications this has for air pollution, and the heating value of wood fuel. The submission was followed up in a further communication in early October.
IrBEA has set a number of key recommendations to the department on the regulation of firewood for sale in Ireland. Specifically, we are calling for legislation to ban the retail sale of firewood with moisture content above 20% by the year 2022, with an interim limit of 25% by September 2020. We see this as a first and critical step to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, particulates and nitrous oxides.”
Technical Notes to Editors
Wood fuel quality is critical to ensuring low emissions and high efficiency. The EU/ISO standard for firewood sets a limit of 25% moisture content for A1 firewood. It is well recognised and tested that wet domestic wood fuels produce high emissions of particulates and NOx, while at the same time giving little heat to the consumer. Firewood at 20% moisture content produces less than 33% of the emissions of wood fuel at 30% moisture content in older stoves, while in modern Eco-Design stoves the emission levels are reduced by almost 90%.
According to SEAI figures wood fuels produce as little as 3.2g CO2 per MJ heat, comparing this to gas which produces 56.9g, kerosene which produces 73.3g and heat pumps today which produce anything from 19g to 52g depending on the amount of wind on the electrical system. No other heating source can produce heat on demand with such a minimal impact on CO2 emissions.

About the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA)
The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme for Ireland is an all island scheme established to increase consumer confidence in wood fuel products sold in Ireland. The WFQA administered by IrBEA independently certifies and verifies suppliers of firewood, wood pellets, woodchip and wood briquettes. All certification is carried out against EN ISO 17225 standards for biomass fuels. The WFQA currently certifies 25 suppliers and engages in workshops and open days to promote the use of properly produced wood fuels. We welcome queries from the general public seeking to know more about using wood fuels and in identifying the correct type of fuel to use. Further details can be found at www.wfqa.org

About the Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA)
IrBEA was founded in May 1999. Its role is to promote the bioenergy industry and to develop this important sector on the island of Ireland. The organisation is a self-governing non-profit association of voluntary members. Our diverse membership includes: farmers and foresters, fuel suppliers, energy development companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, engineers, financiers and tax advisers, legal firms, consultants, planners, research organisations, local authorities, education and advisory bodies – anyone with an interest in the bioenergy industry. Governance and strategic oversight are provided by Board of Directors and a Management Committee, with support from a small Executive Team. IrBEA is affiliated to BioEnergy Europe and the European Biogas Association (EBA).

For further information please contact
Noel Gavigan, IrBEA Technical Executive & WFQA Programme Manager
087-6845977
noelgavigan@irbea.org

ENDS

Pictures from IrBEA’s Bioenergy for Climate Change in Transport Conference in October

IrBEA in partnership with valued member Ethanol Europe recently organised a one day conference on the topic “Bioenergy for Climate Action in Transport”. The event took place in the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge in late October. Conference delegates heard from a diverse and varied line up of speakers who highlighted and discussed the role that Bioenergy can play in addressing Climate Action in Transport. IrBEA would like to thank our Management Executive Committee member James Cogan for all his work, help and assistance in organising this successful event. Pictured  are speakers at the recent “Bioenergy for Climate Action in Transport” event. Back L to R Barry Caslin Teagasc, Fintan Conway, Ilaria Stretti IGW, Eddie Punch ICSA, Tony Hennebry Green Biofuels Ireland. Front Row L to R Seán Finan IrBEA, Michael Mc Bennett Farmer and Founding member of IrBEA and james Cogan Ethanol Europe.

Biogas Support Document – “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action” 7/08/2019

Press Release: Immediate Release

Biogas Can Addresses Ireland’s Declared Climate Emergency with Government Policy and Action Now

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and Cré – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland recently launch their joint policy document calling for a biogas support scheme titled “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action”. This document developed following consultation with members and key stakeholders in the sector, sets out a road map for how the government target of 1.6Twh of biomethane by 2030 can be achieved on a phased basis over the next number of years. The document provides the Irish government with an industry roadmap for the role out of a meaningful Irish biogas industry. This document addresses the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action call for a strategy to be developed for anaerobic digestion and also the Government Climate Action Plan action on biomethane injection. This policy document articulates a vision from the industry and outlines the key principles which will need to be followed for the growth and development of a successful Irish biogas industry. Read more