Farmers are vital to increasing Ireland’s renewable bioenergy resource potential
- Bioenergy provides almost half of the renewable energy we use today -
20 October 2016
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has today published a report detailing how energy crops grown by Irish farmers offer the largest potential to expand Ireland’s domestic bioenergy resource over the next 20 years. The report‘Bioenergy Supply in Ireland 2015-2035’ shows that energy crops along with biomass resources from Irish forests and the better utilisation of wastes and by-products have the potential to provide over one fifth of our final energy demand. Bioenergy resources can be burned in boilers to produce heat and power or converted to liquids and gas to power our cars and trucks, heat our homes and produce electricity.
Commenting on the report, Dr. Eimear Cotter, Head of Low Carbon Technologies in SEAI said: “Ireland currently spends about €5 billion per year on importing fossil fuels and using biomass to produce energy can help keep some of this money in local and rural biomass supply chains while also helping to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.”
The report identifies two key challenges to accessing the available bioenergy potential – low market prices and supply side barriers like lack of information and under developed supply chains.
Addressing the report’s challenges, Dr. Cotter said: “Helping farmers to grow environmentally sustainable energy crops can add to the energy available from good forest and waste management practises. Using the available resources to produce heat at higher efficiencies can also maximise the energy and wider benefits for using bioenergy. The majority of the additional resource potential identified such as, willow, miscanthus or biogas from grass silage, would only come available at prices above current market prices for most bioenergy resources. Increased bioenergy demand leading to sustained increases in the market price for bioenergy resources can make these resources financially viable for farmers, foresters and other resource providers.”
Dr. Cotter added: “Further supply side interventions, aimed at helping suppliers to bring their resources to market, can lower production costs and help the financial viability of resources at lower prices.”
The report looked at the energy potential across 17 different bioenergy resources. The cost of bringing these resources to market and the barriers to development are identified. The estimates are based on key reports on future expectations for food production, forest supply and municipal waste as well as consultation with industry experts. In assessing the bioenergy potential, the amount of land required to meet the food production envisioned in the Food Wise 2025 plan is considered unavailable for energy crops.
To view a copy of the report see below:
For further information contact:
Morwenna Rice / Luke McDonnell, Drury|Porter|Novelli
01 260 5000/ 0861940069 (MR) 085 7127243 (LMD)
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) plays a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is designated as the Issuing Authority for Building Energy Ratings in Ireland. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland’s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.