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

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. 

In response to the Minister’s statement IrBEA President Des O’Toole said “we welcome the statement from Minister  Bruton  but are disappointed that it lacks specifics and detail regarding the use of renewable energy sources such as biomass, biogas, biofuels and energy crops in the drive towards reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. Bioenergy and renewable energy sources offer untapped potential in addressing the climate change challenges that we face as we work towards decarbonising the economy. Many EU members states have embraced the use of bioenergy for many years ago and Ireland need to urgently follow suit. We need to use the best practice and knowledge available from other EU member states to drive the renewable energy sector here. Meaningful policy interventions at a government level that support investment and use of renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuel is immediately required”
Bioenergy is Europe’s largest renewable source providing half of all renewable energy. 8.5% of Europe’s energy comes from biomass. Ireland is currently only getting 3% of our energy from biomass.  The majority of this is used in the sawmilling sector for drying lumber. Mr O’Toole continued “The skills/resources needed for the expansion of the bioenergy industry offer massive potential in terms of jobs and economic activity. The skillsets and personnel required are closely matched to those that will become available from scaling back on peat and coal reliance. Ireland has a natural advantage in its people and in its resources, none more-so than our ability to grow wood and energy crops better than most other countries around the world. There are real opportunities for local job creation, fuel cost reductions, enhancing Irelands energy balance of trade as well as the obvious and vital reduction in carbon emissions. IrBEA look forward to working with the Minister and his Department in the coming months and years to develop the full potential of Irelands Bioenergy sector”IrBEA members are still waiting for the opening of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH). The full opening of this scheme is a very fundamental policy step in developing the renewable energy sector here.

Mr O’Toole concluded “The immediate launch of the full  SSRH scheme would be a very welcome development by the minister. Our members are frustrated that the launch of the full SSRH scheme is taking so long. IrBEA as the representative body for the bioenergy sector on the island of Ireland, is looking forward to working with Minister Bruton and his department in removing the roadblocks which exist in the development of the overall  Irish Bioenergy sector. We want to ensuring Ireland becomes a leader in responding to climate change and reducing emissions by developing and realising the potential of the Irish bioenergy sector. We will be seeking an early meeting with the Minister to strengthen his understanding of the potential of bioenergy and the policy changes that are needed to allow it to reach its potential.

Des O’Toole
IrBEA President


Media Contact: Sean Finan – IrBEA CEO – 0874146480