A strong attendance list of 190 were present at the annual IrBEA Bioenergy Conference in Dublin on Thursday 9th February.
The programme featured four sessions, the first session focused on policy where Fergus Leamy, CEO of Coillte, the leading forestry, land owning, renewable energy and panel products business in Ireland, provided high-level insights on how we in Ireland can optimize our bioenergy potential. Matthew Clancy, Programme Manager for Low-Carbon Technologies at the SEAI talked about the detailed outlook and challenges for bioenergy in Ireland.
The timing of this conference was particularly appropriate in light of the final consultation on the Government’s proposed introduction of a renewable heat incentive (RHI). This very welcome development can be the key to unlocking the potential of bioenergy in Ireland. Getting to our renewable energy and climate change targets, generating energy from indigenous resources, reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and promoting jobs and economic activity across the entire country, are just some of the benefits.
Reflecting the importance of this challenge we had a session on the RHI consultation delivered by Tom Bruton in the mid-morning sessions. Key speakers and advisors were present at the conference, and the attendees were given the opportunity to partake in a Q&A session to drum up ideas for a response to the consultation. IrBEA will submit a consultation response in mid-March.
After lunch, Session 3 concentrated on Project Finance. Garrett Monaghan of Arthur Cox covered the area of executing and financing biomass projects. He confirmed that capital is available for biomass projects but stressed the importance of planning, having experts on hand, and using funders as allies to help you get the job done. Garrett also looked at RHI implementation and addressed some of the current issues. Russell Smyth (KPMG) walked us through many projects scenarios which are up and running in the AD and W-E sector; commenting that there was a robust equity investment appetite for the sector.
Franceso Panzeri of Demetra gave the history of engineering and designing the ADBag. The solution is a modular system based on a prefabricated plastic bag, which is easy to be installed and maintained. Frank Donnelly of Northway Mushrooms detailed hands-on experiences of his farming business and how his dependence on different renewable energy supplies including biomass boilers and large solar panel investment has helped keep his business viable in changing economic times.
Further information about the Irish Bioenergy Association can be found on their website: http://www.irbea.org/
‘Bioenergy 2017’ – The IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference will be held at the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin on Thursday 9th February.
2017 looks to be a pivotal year for Ireland’s energy policy; the industry expects clarity by then for the roll-out of a Renewable Heat Incentive. It’s imperative that the Irish Government develops an energy policy that allows for greater growth in the bioenergy sector. This will be under discussion at the conference.
The conference will have a strong line up of speakers, both international and national, presenting industry models, policy perspectives and investment opportunities to stimulate lively discussion and strong media coverage.
More on what will be discussed at the event can be found on the IrBEA website: http://www.irbea.org/bioenergy-2017-irbea-national-bioenergy-conference/
2017 will be a pivotal year for Ireland’s energy policy; the industry expects clarity by then for roll-out of a Renewable Heat Incentive. It’s agreed that we need to move towards clean technologies, currently in Ireland we have a renewable market share of 8.7% – Bioenergy contributed to 2% of this. It’s imperative that the Irish government builds an energy policy that allow for greater growth in the Bioenergy sector – this will be under discussion at the IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference.
IrBEA will again have a strong line up of speakers, both international and national, presenting industry models, policy perspectives and investment opportunities to stimulate lively discussion and strong media coverage. Speakers will discuss their experiences of working in Ireland with the current energy policy framework. A full agenda for the conference can be downloaded here
Recent budget spending announcements will also be discussed, how would we like to see the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) spend their extra €50m budget or the capital spend of €90m on climate change actions which was announced.
The conference will give delegates and exhibitors an opportunity to network. IrBEA also plan to organise a network dinner after the event around 6.00pm. Organisations interested in sponsoring elements of the conference (whole or parts of) are asked to contact Teresa O’Brien firstname.lastname@example.org
Register here for Bioenergy 2017
In September GREBE Project Coordinator Pauline Leonard, participated in a Study Tour to Denmark with the Irish Bioenergy Association who are an Associated Partner in the GREBE project. Other participants included representatives from a broad range of sectors including Irish biomass boiler manufacturers, Coillte, private forestry and farming interests, pellet producers, representatives from Údarás na Gaeltachta, and other government agencies focusing on building sustainable rural energy projects.
Donal Magnier from the Irish Farmers Journal was part of the group and wrote an article in the papers forestry section with details of the groups meeting with the State of Green, who outlined the vision of the Danish Government and renewable energy stakeholders, and details of the site visits undertaken by the group. Donal also explored what Ireland can learn from the Danes Danes in renewable energy development.
Further information on this can be found on the Irish Farmers Journal website http://www.farmersjournal.ie/denmarks-vision-for-a-green-economy-by-2050-229556
CREST (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) at South West College, is hosting a free biomass seminar, tour and demonstration on Friday 21st October 2016. CREST is an associate partner in the GREBE project and this event is being run in partnership with Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) and it will run from 10.00 a.m. to 2.30 pm in the CREST pavilion.
Aimed at growers, biofuel suppliers, landowners biomass end users and anyone interested in the sector, the event will focus on ‘Opportunities in Biomass’ and will give an overview of the economic outlook, energy crops, fuel quality, funding for innovation and the future prospects for the industry. The event will also include a tour and demonstration of CREST’s R&D biomass processing facilities and testing laboratories, which are state-of-the-art.
These facilities support research and development activities on behalf on the SME businesses across Northern Ireland and has wider collaborative linkages across Europe.
Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) is a self-funded organisation whose members are actively engaged in all aspects of the production, marketing and use of biomass energy in Northern Ireland with a strong emphasis on Biomass Renewable Heat. John Martin, Chairman of BENI commented “There is still a target of 10% of Heat from renewable sources by 2020, despite the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. A clear strategy needs to be put in place by the Department for the Economy(DfE) as a matter of urgency, to ensure this target is met”.
Other speakers at the event include:
- Michael Doran: (Action Renewables, GREBE Partner) and President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)
- Barry Caslin: Bioenergy & Rural Development Specialist in Teagasc
- Jim Clarke: Deputy Principal Sustainable Development in Invest NI
- Stewart Cameron: Glendale Tree Services and BENI Member
- Paul Cairns: CREST Biomass R&D Technician
To register for Biotech 2016 or for further information, contact Gary Logue at email@example.com or telephone 028 (048 from ROI) 66342251 by Monday 17th October 2016.
Pauline Leonard, GREBE Project Coordinator, had a very successful and enjoyable trip to Denmark with GREBEs Associate Partner, the Irish Bioenergy Association. Representatives participated from a broad range of sectors including Irish biomass boiler manufacturers, Coillte, private forestry and farming interests, pellet producers, representatives from Údarás na Gaeltachta, and other government agencies focusing on building sustainable rural energy projects.
Brewery Vestfyen was our first site visit, here they have shifted from oil to local biomass sourced from residual wood in the Danish forestry and sawmill sector. 2 boilers running on 700,000 litres of heating oil each year have been replaced with a 40 bar 4MW boiler from Focus BioEnergy running on P45 wood chips since January 2015 with a yearly consumption of 10,000 m3. The brewery has a yearly production of cans and bottles containing beer and soft drinks exceeding 120 million units. Biomass is tipped into two 100 m3 containers and transferred to the boiler by auger. Biomass is sold to the customer by the gigajoule of energy delivered and payback is less than 2 years as a result of a government incentive to encourage the switch to renewables.
In the afternoon we visited the town of Stoholm which has a district heating system common to many small towns (780 houses) we met a company which designs, sells and installs bio-fuel boilers. This particular plant was a 1MW pellet boiler and provided the heating and water for all the houses in the town during the summer months, in the winter months a larger capacity gas boiler kicks in to meet the peak load demand. On Friday we travelled to Sonder Omme District heating plant which provides heating for housing and industry (pop. 1700). It is a fully automated system using woodchip, Anders Hjørnholm from Danstoker brought us around the plant the boilers here was manufactured by his company, he said it was a typical build in Denmark.
We visited a second 5.5MW district heating plant in Grindsted where we were accompanied by Peter Larsen from Justsen who specialise in biomass boiler system installations. Finally last stop was Danstoker fabrication workshop, a large aircraft hangar full of boilers at different stages of construction, ranging from sub 1MW up to 20 MW.
It was a very informative trip and good contacts were made. It was impressive how Denmark take renewable heat seriously and provides targeted incentives to underpin investor confidence in the sector. It is a model we would like to see here in Ireland. There are so many energy intensive businesses in the Irish food, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors who have a global ambition to become carbon neutral through reducing emissions and using resources more efficiently. It is widely recognised that our State and the emerging private forestry biomass resource can play a key role in delivering on this ambitions.
Eamonn Confrey (Principal Officer Decarbonisation, DCENR), Cara Augustenborg (Friends of the Earth), Fred Tottenham (outgoing IrBEA President), Eamonn McGrath (Gaelectric, conference sponsor) and Michael Doran (incoming IrBEA President)
IrBEAs 15th National Bioenergy Conference on Wednesday 3rd February in Dublin saw a 200 strong attendance from across the bioenergy sector, both North and South of Ireland.
There was a focus on the early introduction of the RHI in the Republic of Ireland, which will act as a key factor towards achieving the switch to bioenergy and the creation of over 3,000 new jobs. The conference finished with a strong message for political parties and candidates involved in the general election, who were urged to declare their positions on the environment and make climate change a priority going forward.
New IrBEA President, Michael Doran of Action Renewables and GREBE, said: “The bioenergy sector sits at the intersection of energy, agriculture and climate change policies. It is also unique in that it is a truly regionalised, ground-up industry that stimulates economic activity locally for farmers, those involved in designing and installing bioenergy systems and the businesses and consumers that benefit from effective, secure and sustainable heating. We need to accelerate the switch to renewable sources of power right across our economy, in electricity, in transport and in heating. This is our obligation under international treaties to prevent potentially catastrophic climate change, and in our own self-interest as a society and an island economy that is dependent on imported, polluting fossil fuels for 85% of our energy needs.”