Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has congratulated Flagmount-based Clare Wood Chip Limited on becoming a member of the nationally accredited Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme.
Senator Mulcahy said the achievement was just recognition of the company’s pioneering work in promoting increased use of wood fuel and engaging with local farmers to source a quality supply of timber. He added that the quality accreditation was also an acknowledgment of the work of the County Clare Wood Energy Project (CCWEP) to develop and support a competitive and sustainable wood energy market in Clare.
Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today presented representatives of Clare Wood Chip with a certificate marking the achievement. The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme is certified by the National Standards Association of Ireland (NSAI) on behalf the WFQA, which comprises The Irish Bioenergy Association, as well industry and consumer representatives.
Senator Mulcahy stated that the potential contribution of wood energy to the Clare economy is significant. He explained: “In Clare alone, over hundreds of jobs could be generated by the sector over the next 10 years. Local jobs, based on our own natural resources, will give us a more self-sufficient local economy. For example, research shows that the total contribution of wood energy to the Clare economy by 2020 is estimated at €9.8m per annum, if we meet the 95MW government target for biomass heat production.”
Senator Mulcahy said that County Clare had already taken the lead in the area of biomass heat production.
“Timber harvesting, chipping, storage and fuel delivery infrastructure is in place to service the local energy market. Quality control mechanisms are also in place to ensure that this new energy source meets the required standards on a consistent basis,” he added.
Senator Mulcahy also pointed to the proposed construction of a 70MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) at Stonehall, near Newmarket-on-Fergus, as a sign that the wood energy sector in Clare is now firmly established.
“Carbon Sole Group’s proposal to develop a 70MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) at Stonehall would help to create and sustain hundreds of jobs throughout the region, as well as provide a clean, cheap and reliable source of energy to the surrounding hinterland. The company has informed me that it has selected Shannon as a possible location for the CHP, due to its close proximity to forested regions where bio-fuel could be sourced but also due to the size of the towns and reliance on fossil fuels,” he concluded.