PRESS RELEASE:   Oireachtas Committee report fails to recognise the potential for biogas and bioliquids in decarbonising transport – IrBEA

For Immediate Release

16/06/2021

Oireachtas Committee report fails to recognise the potential for biogas and bioliquids in decarbonising transport – IrBEA

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action recently published its report on “Reducing emissions in the transport sector by 51% by 2030”. The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is disappointed and dismayed that the report fails to recognise the potential and role of bioliquids and biogas as part of the technology and fuel mix to decarbonise and reduce transport emissions by 2030.

James Cogan of Ethanol Europe and chair of the IrBEA Transport Committee said “The report title is promising and the ideas are great including the ending of road building, reverse urban sprawl, free public transport, reduced need for travel, cycling superhighways to name but a few. However, there is no further mention of 51% or 2030 after the title and no mention of cost or feasibility. That’s where the report falls short. We believe that the report should have aimed for more of a balance between a vision for a better Ireland and what’s actually doable to get 51% emissions cuts in 8 years”

The significant role and potential of bioenergy including biogas and bioliquids including bioethanol and biodiesel has not been considered in the report at all despite their significant contribution to date and the continued overwhelming dominance of combustion engine technology in Ireland’s transport system.

The Biofuels Obligation Scheme (BOS) was first introduced in 2010 and requires suppliers of road transport fuels to include a certain percentage of environmentally sustainable biofuels across their general fuel mix. The BOS has resulted in hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 savings and emissions reductions annually.

Seán Finan CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association said “Considering the important role that the BOS has played in the last decade in transport emissions reduction, we are surprised the BOS has not been mentioned once in the Oireachtas Committee report. This shows a complete and utter lack of awareness and understanding by the political establishment of the current emissions reduction policy instruments deployed by the state”.

Seán Finan continued “IrBEA calls for the further development of the BOS and for the broadening of the BOS to ensure that it is a central vehicle for the development of an Irish biogas industry. We reiterate our call for the immediate increase in substitution rates of Ethanol from 5% up to 10% in petrol (E10) and of biodiesel from 7% to 12% in Diesel (E12). With political will, the increased biofuel substitution measures can be introduced immediately at no cost to the consumer or exchequer and with no need for investment in fueling infrastructure. The introduction of E10 in Ireland alone would follow the recent announcement of its introduction in the UK and would result in the cutting of  carbon emissions in the transport sector by 200,000 tonnes annually, bringing the same reduction as approximately 100,000 electric cars at no cost to the exchequer”

The Committee report favours the re-engineering of living patterns and reductions in travel demand as the solution – a welcome measure but which extends way beyond the 2030 timeframe – seemingly to the exclusion of existing available technologies such as biogas and bioliquids.  It is undisputed by world climate experts that ALL measures will be needed to the maximum extent possible. The report mentions the potential for hydrogen which is not yet commercially available and for which there is no infrastructure. The report fails to consider biogas, which is a mainstream technology deployed across Europe with huge potential to be used to decarbonise the heavy goods vehicle  fleet.  Biogas utilises farm and industrial wastes and residues. It provides economic and employment opportunities to farmers and waste reduction solutions to industry.

The report reaffirms the welcome introduction of one million electric vehicles in the fleet by 2030 but omits to note that all expert evaluations of this measure to date point to (a) a risk that the target may not be reached due to the costs involved and (b) that if reached, while the measure will certainly help prevent further rises in transport emissions, it does not result in significant emissions reductions, as the economy and population continue to grow.   It may sound like a tired mantra by now, but it is still the case that “all climate measures in transport are vital”.

Seán Finan concluded “IrBEA issued a full briefing note to the Environment and Climate committee in April 2021 as they were preparing their report. Our note clearly highlighted the bioenergy options for decarbonising transport, with associated emissions reductions. We are acutely surprised and disappointed that the committee is turning a blind eye to the contents of that briefing by failing to recognise the potential for sustainable liquid and gaseous biofuels. Given the scale of the challenge that exist there are simply no grounds for it, while all solutions and fuels need to be on the table.”

James Cogan concluded “Right now we’re still increasing by 1 – 2% the amount of fossil fuel used each year in transport, like a couch potato putting on more weight. So let’s start by making an actual plan to turn this into a 1% reduction in oil use per year, starting this year. And if that’s doable then try doubling it to 2% per year, and so on, like a couch to 5k challenge”

ENDS

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

TOPIC OVERVIEW

Last month Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) launched 40by30 – a renewable heat vision which delivers 40% renewable heat by 2030, developed by XD Consulting it 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. 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 was focused 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.

LIVE RECORDING

View the live recording here

 

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

TOPIC OVERVIEW

This webinar focused 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.

LIVE RECORDING

View live recording here

 

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

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

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