Bioenergy Plan agreed by Government

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, and the Minister for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd TD, have announced the approval today by Government of the publication of a national Bioenergy Plan.

Commenting on the plan, Minister Rabbitte stated: “Bioenergy will be an essential element in contributing to Ireland’s future energy needs out to 2020, 2030 and beyond. It has the potential to provide significant economic and environmental benefits. Our available resource – derived from forests, energy crops, animal by-products, and waste – can rapidly increase through policies and actions across energy, forestry, agriculture, waste, and research, development and deployment. The Bioenergy Plan will provide a mechanism to inform and coordinate policy and implementation across these policy areas.”

Minister O’Dowd further commented: “The establishment of BioEnergy Ireland as a biomass joint venture between Bord na Móna and Coillte is a significant development in bringing forward the necessary supply of biomass to meet growing present and future demand. BioEnergy Ireland will procure biomass at market rates from all sources, including Coillte Forest, private forests and elsewhere, and offer the product to the entire market, including Bord na Móna and Coillte subsidiaries, based on market pricing in a manner that optimises the supply chain. The joint venture will be structured to economically incentivise Coillte to engage with private sector suppliers.”

The Bioenergy Plan consists of two sections. Section 1 sets out the broader context for the development of Ireland’s bioenergy sector, and the current state of play with regard to the range of policy areas that must be coordinated in order to create the conditions necessary to support the development of this sector. There are a wide range of Government departments, agencies and State bodies that are critical enablers for bioenergy development by virtue of their responsibility for areas such as forestry, agriculture, waste, research funding and business development. A key output from the Bioenergy Plan is the identification of ways to ensure the optimal coordination of all of these players.

Section 2 of the plan goes on to identify the next steps that must be taken to support the sustainable realisation of the economic potential of Ireland’s bioenergy resources.

The Bioenergy Plan will be published in draft form later this month, pending completion of a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment. The Annex summarises the key policy actions and enablers contained in the draft Bioenergy Plan.