PRESS RELEASE: Bioenergy a driving force to achieve renewable heat transport and electricity targets IrBEA

Bioenergy – Inspiring the industry with opportunity and vision is the theme of the Irish Bioenergy Association National Bioenergy conference which is sponsored by Bord an Móna and takes place in Croke Park today. The conference focuses on the untapped potential that Bioenergy presents in the form of biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels to achieve renewable energy targets in heat, transport and electricity.

Speaking at the conference Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “Mobilising Irish indigenous biomass and brash is crucial to achieving our Renewable Energy targets in both the electricity and heating sector. Addressing the challenges of mobilisation of our private forestry estate will need to be overcome. Bord na Móna, our conference premium sponsors is pleased to be helping unlock the biomass opportunity in Ireland as an outlet for material while helping to decarbonise Ireland’s electricity grid.

The Renewable Heat agenda will be served by improving access to Irish biomass supplies, enabled by improvements to the biomass supply chain infrastructure from mobilisation of the Private Forestry supply and also the promotion of Energy Crops.

Tom Egan Head of Bioenergy Operations and Power Generation at Bord na Móna said “ Bord na Móna are leaders in the Irish biomass industry, and on an exciting transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy at its Edenderry Power Station in Co, Offaly. Edenderry Power is on a course towards 100% renewable electricity generation by as soon as 2024. The biomass contribution at Edenderry makes it the biggest supplier of ‘on-demand’ renewable energy on the island of Ireland.  This means that when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine Edenderry can guarantee a supply of renewable energy to the grid; this adds flexibility to the grid to install more wind and solar generation.

Tom Egan concluded “Edenderry Power continues to transition towards ever increasing levels of biomass, which is sustainable, and 80% of which is indigenous  from local Irish suppliers.  This helps Bord na Móna continue to drive the economic and growth agenda in rural Ireland, the midlands and beyond -supporting what are sustainable jobs, sourcing sustainable Irish biomass feedstocks over the ‘Just Transition’ period and beyond. Bord na Móna uses mainly residual forest material (brash). Bord na Móna wants to secure increasing indigenous biomass from the well documented availability from private forestry and also want to help realise the energy crop opportunity that exists for farmers.

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

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

IrBEA PRESS RELEASE: Climate Action Plan ambition welcomed but needs to be reinforced with bioenergy support measures

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes the publication last week of the Climate Action Plan. IrBEA articulates that the renewable energy targets set out in the plan in terms of heat and biomethane will only be realised if backed with significant financial supports.

Speaking on Friday at a technical workshop on the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)  Des O’Toole, IrBEA President & Coillte Market Development Manager said “Overall, sustainably produced biomass will play a key role in Ireland’s transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy. The SSRH unlocks great potential to provide energy savings and carbon emissions reductions by lowering energy costs for Irish industry, it ensures these businesses remain competitive in a global environment”

IrBEA also launched the IrBEA Biomass Heating Systems Designers and Installers Register, IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said “Bioenergy as a fully dispatchable renewable energy technology can assist in achieving our Renewable Energy targets across all three areas of electricity, heat and transport. For bioenergy to become mainstream, meaningful government supports will be required” 

 

Finan continued “Industry feedback following publication of the Climate Action plan suggests that the plan ‘over-emphasises’ the part electricity will play.  IrBEA fully support the target of 70% renewable electricity by 2030. However, electricity is less than one third of our primary energy usage and we cannot expect to decarbonise the economy without addressing heat and transport decarbonisation also. Bioenergy is ideally place to assist in this effort with heat and transport. The potential for use of highly efficient biomass boilers and renewable biogas boilers in domestic houses cannot be overlooked in favour of heat pumps. Biomass systems need to form part of the technology mix to be used in domestic installations”

Noel Gavigan IrBEA executive concluded “ our SSRH Technical workshop today heard calls for the return of the energy crop establishment support scheme to ensure that Irish indigenous energy crops and short rotation coppices are incentivised to assist in satisfying the market needs for biomass which the SSRH will generate. Growing these crops will also assist in the decarbonisation of agriculture and also support rural jobs and economic activity. Attendees acknowledged the importance of competent designers and installers of biomass heating systems as well as quality feedstock certified by the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) as key components for the success of the SSRH scheme”

The Irish Bioenergy Association would like to thank the speakers who gave their time and expertise to this event and all the participants who attended, in excess of 150. If you would like to view the presentations or photos from the day, click here: Presentations Photos

Release Date: 21 June 2019

 

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference – Bioenergy Future Ireland – Croke Park Dublin

Swift Government Action on Policy needed to Mobilise Bioenergy

The need for the government to immediately open the main support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) and to progress with a feed in tariff for biogas were the top priorities for delegates attending todays Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) conference held at Croke Park.

The theme of the conference sponsored by CPL Industries and DWF is Mobilising Bioenergy with Policy and Action. The conference brings together delegates from across the main bioenergy sectors of biomass, biogas, biofuels and energy crops who gather to discuss the actions needed to mobilise the bioenergy industry with a particular focus on technology, investment and the climate change agenda as we transition to more renewables and sustainable energy sources.

The potential for the bioenergy sector in Ireland is huge and swift government action on bioenergy policy can accelerate economic growth, sustain thousands of jobs especially in rural areas, improve environmental quality, drastically cut CO2 emissions, assist in meeting our international renewable energy commitments and avoiding EU fines.

Speaking in his opening address Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA stated Our immediate priority is the roll out of the full SSRH scheme. The industry has had many promised and expected launch dates of SSRH which have come and gone. The industry eagerly awaits the launch of this scheme. We call on Minister Bruton to clarify today the timelines for the scheme launch. The industry demand certainty on the scheme timelines as they are currently organising staffing and work plans for the remainder of the year 

Opening the conference, Chair of the joint Oireachtas Committee on Communication, Climate Action and Environment Hildegarde Naughton T.D.  updated all attendees on the work of her committee and the role bioenergy can play in addressing the climate change challenges facing Ireland.

In his presentation President of the Irish Bioenergy Association Des OToole and Coilltes Biomass Development Manager highlighted the potential for forestry and biomass as key elements of our bioenergy sector.

Mr OToole said The bioenergy sector is a key part of the overall forestry ecosystem and has an important part to play in its growth. As well as contributing towards Irelands ambitious renewable energy targets and Irelands transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy, the expected growth in demand for biomass will be a key outlet for the increased supply of fibre projected over the next 10 years’’. 

Paddy Phelan Vice President of IrBEA said Clear and obvious economic benefits of the local energy supply chain and its natural position as a low carbon energy supply, which will future proof us within the Renewable Energy Directive II requirements of less than 60g of CO2 per unit of energy produced by 2026 on the island Ireland.

IrBEA actively promotes the huge potential for development of a meaningful biogas industry in Ireland.

Finan continued As an agriculture country, we have an abundance of feedstock. There are many benefits for biogas across many government departments. These include reducing agricultural emissions, improving water quality, economic and jobs in rural and decarbonisation of our gas network and transport fleet with green gas to name but a few

For a biogas industry to be stimulated it will need a government support in terms of a feed in tariff. A high percentage of a tariff provided would go directly back to farmers in rural Ireland for the purchase of feedstock by biogas operators.

Finan concluded This support needs to be assessed by looking at the multi benefits of biogas from a climate, emissions reduction, jobs perspective across a number of government department rather than looking at this as simply a financial cost to the exchequer.

ENDS

CONTACT:   Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO,   +353 87 4146480 or seanfinan@irbea.org

EDITORS NOTES:

Photo Attached: Des OToole IrBEA President and Coillte Business Development Manager, Chair of the joint Oireachtas Committee on Communication, Climate Action and Environment Hildegarde Naughton T.D.  Sean Finan CEO IrBEA

 

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA Welcomes Statement from Minister Richard Bruton T.D. on the Potential for Renewable Energy

PRESS RELEASE
Bioenergy sector offers unlimited potential in addressing climate change challenges – IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) released a press release this week welcoming the statement made on Climate Change by Minister for Communication, Climate Change and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. but are disappointed that it lacks specifics and a focus on the potential for renewable energy in addressing climate change. Climate action is not only a challenge but also a considerable opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in this space. We are in real danger of losing our green image with the  lack of action over the past 15 years.  Many long term plans and targets have been set for 2008, 2012, 2015, 2020, 2030 and now 2040. IrBEA empowers Minister Bruton to show progress on  emissions targets within his own ministerial timeframe. 
Read more

Press Release Representing Renewable Energy Associations of Ireland

Eight organisations representing renewable energy in Ireland united today to call on Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD to set a target to supply 70 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030.

In June 2018 the European Union agreed that 32 per cent of the EU’s energy – across electricity, heat and transport – will come from renewables by 2030. Ireland’s share of that target will be negotiated with the EU in the coming months.

A comprehensive report from leading energy and utilities experts Baringa says it is technically possible and cost neutral to the consumer for Ireland to use renewable energy to supply 70 per cent of our electricity by 2030, which would go a long way towards reaching the EU target. A summary of the report can be found here.

It follows confirmation from the Climate Change Advisory Council in July that Ireland will miss its overall 2020 target for renewable energy, warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighting the failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comes as the International Panel on Climate Change meets in Korea.

In September the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action began meeting to respond to the calls from the Citizens’ Assembly earlier this year for Ireland to become a leader in tackling climate change.

Currently, approximately 30 per cent of Irish electricity comes from renewables and while Ireland will fall short of its overall 2020 target it is expected to still reach its 40 per cent electricity target.  

           Speakers: Dr John Fitzgerald (Climate Change Advisory Council), Des O’Toole (IrBEA President),

Marie Donnelly (Former Directorate General for Energy), Michael McCarthy (CEO of ISEA), Dr David Connolly (CEO of IWEA)

Read more

New CEO Appointed to IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is delighted to announce that Seán Finan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Association.

Des O’Toole IrBEA President said “On behalf of IrBEA, I’m delighted to welcome Seán Finan to the Association. I wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role. Sean brings with him a wealth of experience and I believe he will show strong leadership to the organisation at this pivotal juncture as Ireland transitions to renewables away from fossil fuels”

Seán Finan is a Chartered Engineer with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering B.E. (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. He also holds a Certificate in Agriculture and farms part time. He brings a broad range of experience and knowledge to IrBEA having various positions and roles within many community, voluntary, representative and statutory organisations at a local, national and European level over the years.

Prior to joining IrBEA, he has over 12 years engineering and management experience with John Sisk & Son (Holding) Ltd and took a two-year secondment from Sisk between 2015 and 2017 to complete a successful term as the 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation.

Finan said “I relish the challenge and opportunity which leading IrBEA presents. I look forward to working with the board, executive committee, membership and executive staff in taking the organisation through its next phase of growth and development. The organisation has an invaluable and key strategic role to play in representing and advocating for the bioenergy sector on the island of Ireland against a backdrop and dealing with challenges such as climate change, emissions reduction and the provision of more renewable energy sources into the future. In my role as CEO of IrBEA, I will work with all stakeholders to ensure a sustainable future in bioenergy and to strategically position bioenergy to play a significant role in Ireland’s Sustainability Renewable Energy Roadmap”.
                                                                             Sean Finan here on the right with Des O’Toole (IrBEA President), Teresa O’Brien(Communications Manager)
                                                      & Noel Gavigan (IrBEA Executive) at the Press Launch of ‘Our Energy Vision’,  a report supported by 8 renewable energy agencies in Ireland

Press Release: IrBEA on New EU Renewables Directive, “progress yes, but not seeing much drive in transport”

Statement from Irish Bioenergy Association 

The EU has upped the renewables target to 32% overall, and this gives plenty of incentive for progress in electricity, heat and transport, which is good. For the first time all solid biomass will have sustainability criteria requirements regardless of source, this will ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of biomass as a central renewable fuel. Also of note is the minimum greenhouse gas reduction requirements of 70% which will be applied from 2021 onwards, rising to 80% in 2026. The new regulations also set minimum efficiency levels for biomass power plants. 

The new transport sector sub-target for renewables is set at 14%, not a huge step-up from the current 2020 target of 10%. Double-counting will be allowed for advanced biofuels. This means one can use one litre of renewable fuel and count it as two. This means the target can be met numerically by achieving 7% renewables, with the consequence that another 7% of fossil derived liquid fuels need not be replaced in meeting the target – which you could argue defeats the purpose.

As for the optional 7%, this is reserved for crop-based biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel from grain, beet and rapeseed.  But a country cannot exceed the amount of this fuel that it was using in 2020, so if your country was at 4% crop-biofuels in 2020 it cannot go to 7% in 2030.  This may be better than the European Commission’s intention of cutting such biofuels to 3.8% but it’s disappointing when one considers the potential for EU sourced crop biofuels to safely and effectively contribute to climate action while at the same time providing EU farmers with secure farm income, lots more GMO-free and antibiotic-free protein feed (by product of the biofuels) and long term investment in rural communities. IrBEA is committed to ensuring that all bioenergy and all renewable energy sources are fully sustainable, we recognize and fully support the need for proper controls around sustainability – however placing a cap in 2018 on a target in 2030 in a technology sector that is advancing rapidly can only serve to stifle the much needed innovations over the coming decades. The challenge of lowering carbon emissions is one of the greatest challenges of society today, policy measures must encourage innovation as an absolute priority.

Digging into the targets set, if we take out double counting and optional contributions then the hard target for transport renewables is in actuality 3.5%, or less, which is no more than what Europe has today.  Factor in the steady 1%-3% growth each year in transport and we end up with significant net increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

One positive note, according to James Cogan of IrBEA’s transport team,  is that palm oil diesel will be phased out by 2030 under the Directive.  Palm diesel for the EU has resulted in many hundreds of thousands of hectares of peatland and forest being drained and burnt, sending vastly more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere than if the unknowing drivers had stuck to regular diesel.  And palm diesel does no good for farmers, feed or Europe’s rural economies.    Europe needs to improve its governance systems in the energy transition from fossil to renewables and the Directive is very light on this aspect. 

Lastly, and it may seem minor, but RED II was an opportunity lost for Europe to exclude countries which haven’t signed the Paris Climate Agreement from supplying energy into our transport markets, a measure which is good for climate action and good for Europe’s farmers and producers.  Any means for rectifying this before the final text is delivered would be warmly welcomed.

The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM): RED II Set the First European-Wide Sustainability Criteria for Solid Biomass

Brussels, 14.06.18

Understanding the key role played by solid bioenergy, EU negotiations on RED II opted for a constructive approach towards sustainability in the last round of trilogue negotiations. However, the compromise found fall short on creating a level playing for sustainability criteria. 

For the first time, European-wide sustainability criteria have been adopted for solid bioenergy. The European Biomass Association, AEBIOM, welcomes the risk-based approach, the 20 MW threshold and the criteria themselves. This approach ensures that biomass is produced sustainably, irrespective of its geographical origin, without creating unnecessary administrative burden on small installations and countries with a well-established system of forest management.

“You will always find people to complain about the criteria. But for the first time the European legislators gives a sustainability roadmap to the solid bioenergy sector. Despite controversy, policy makers decided to take a challenging but pragmatic approach considering field realities.” explained Jean-Marc Jossart, AEBIOM Secretary-General.

Bioenergy will need to meet 80% greenhouse gas emission savings as compared to fossil fuels in 2026. For electricity-only installations, only best-available technology will be able to get supports. To give a comprehensive overview on all new criteria, AEBIOM released a dedicated infographic today (see below).

The compromise also recognises the role of co-firing allowing bioenergy to play a key role in energy transition while ensuring that biomass is not prolonging the life of old coal installations.

AEBIOM has been one of the front-runners calling for the introduction of EU sustainability criteria as a way to ensure market confidence, while keeping an equal level-playing field for the sector. In this context, we regret to see that Member States will be able to adopt additional national criteria. We hope that we do not end up with 28 different systems after such a constructive effort achieved at European level.