The Government recently published a Strategy for Renewable Energy ‘2012 – 2020’. As part of this strategy Ireland has a binding target to produce 16% of its consumed energy from renewables by 2020. This 16% straddles the electricity, heating and transport sectors.
Speaking in advance of the National Bioenergy Conference 2013, which will take place on Friday, 8 November, Teagasc Bioenergy Specialist, Barry Caslin said: “Bioenergy is one of the most versatile forms of low carbon renewable energy generation. It can be used to produce heat, for transport and to produce electricity. It can also provide a continuous and constant flow of energy. It can create opportunities for growth along the supply chain both in Ireland and abroad.
Bioenergy can support jobs and economic growth.”
One of the strategic goals in the Renewable Energy Strategy is to develop a sustainable bioenergy sector supporting renewable heat, transport and electricity generation.
According to Andy Doyle from the Irish Farmers Journal; “EU Member States rely mainly on the agricultural supply to meet their 2020 RES targets in their national Renewable Energy Action plans. It is crucial to enhance the support for perennial energy crops such as Willow, Poplar, Miscanthus and help develop supply chains and the necessary infrastructure needed to ensure that bioenergy can contribute to meeting our 2020 targets.”
Renewable energy development in Ireland is central to our becoming a more competitive and self-reliant society. The expectation is that bioenergy will meet approximately half of our renewable targets with the other 50% mainly coming from wind, hydro, etc. The clock is ticking and there is a long lead in time in which to establish the supply chains and infrastructure around the vast array of potential contributors from bioenergy. These can vary from forestry and energy crops to anaerobic digestion for both biogas and biomethane production.
The sustainable growth of biomass/biofuel use in the heat sector as well as in power generation and transport will be underpinned by a comprehensive ‘National Bioenergy Strategy’. This soon to be launched strategy will be a key focus of discussion at this year’s National Bioenergy Conference on the 8th of November in Dublin. This year’s conference will finish with an interesting panel discussion chaired by RTE’s business editor, Emma McNamara. The conference is being organised by Teagasc in association with the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and the Irish Farmers Journal.