Irish Bioenergy Association Newsletter December 2015
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15th IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference Wed 3 Feb 2016 *** Register NOW ***
COP21, elections in the Republic, degressions in NI, and a new Energy White Paper – there's a lot going on at macro level. But who's making it happen in the market place? Hear our quality speaker line-up address today's bioenergy issues, and give yourself the opportunity to discuss, debate and push for change. Register early to avoid disappointment. Trade stand space has limits, so be in to secure your place. Venue: Castleknock Hotel and Country Club, Dublin 15. Conference kindly sponsored by Gaelectric. Registration details here

IrBEA lobbying on RHI as DCENR falls well behind schedule 
IrBEA is increasing lobbying activities to press for a renewable heat incentive (RHI) at the earliest possible time. At a stakeholder meeting for the Bioenergy Plan on 24 November, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) admitted they are behind schedule for the design phases of the RHI consultation. The first of these is now expected to be published in February (originally due out Oct/Nov 2015), and the follow-up proposals are now expected in summer 2016 (originally due Q1 2016). Shortages of staff and staff changes in DCENR are adding to delays. Despite this, DCENR is still saying the RHI will be operational in 2016. IrBEA isn't optimistic on this, and has stepped up lobbying, including:

  • Wrote to Minister White 30 Nov pressing for more urgency, offering industry expertise to prepare and finalise the RHI
  • Phoning approx 130 IrBEA members urging lobbying of local politicians (activity led by Nick Rackard & Noel Gavigan) based on these briefing notes
  • meeting TDs / Senators Leinster House (led by Tom Bruton) to inform and urge action infographic briefing
  • raising public awareness through press releases and letters to editors (see letter in Irish Times)
  • Meeting DCENR officials 14 Dec 2015 specifically on anaerobic digestion (AD), its multi-benefits and potential for inclusion in the RHI scheme (led by Padriac O'Neill, partnering with Cre) 
  • Meeting DCENR senior officials 11 January 2016 

To keep these issues alive and press for action, we urge members to raise climate change and renewable energy policy locally as an important voting issue, both in person and on social media.

IrBEA move to Dublin office - DCU Alpha
In early January 2016 IrBEA is moving from the current office in Carlow to a new base at Dublin City University Alpha (formerly called DCU Innovation Campus). While the Carlow office has served the association well, the new premises provides a more dynamic environment to explore opportunities for collaboration and communication, for example with DCU education, campus companies and with IrBEA members. A new phone number will be notified shortly. The new address is: Unit 104, DCU Alpha, Old Finglas Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 11, D11KXN4  

Biogas3 Final Conference
IrBEA has been a partner in the EU-funded Biogas3 project since its launch in March 2014. With 10 partners in 7 countries, the project has been promoting sustainable production of renewable energy from biogas produced from agricultural residues and food and beverage industry waste in small-scale concepts for energy self-sufficiency. The project finishes at the end of February 2016. A Final Conference takes place on Tues 9th Feb in Brussels - see flyer and press release. More details in January 2016.

Latest News

Publication of Energy White Paper - Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030
Energy Minister Alex White last week published the Energy White Paper, which sets a framework and outlines a number of actions to reduce Ireland’s energy-related carbon emissions by between 80% and 95%, compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. High-carbon fuels like peat and coal will give way to lower-carbon or renewable alternatives in the short to medium term, before fossil fuels are largely replaced by renewable energy sources by 2050. Greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector will “fall to zero or below by 2100". As a strategy the White Paper is an ambitious plan to achieve important targets for renewable energy. The weakness in the plan is the ability to convert this ambition into action. IrBEA responded with a press release, view here

The Leader of the Green party Eamon Ryan wasn't impressed. He said the lack of urgency shown by the Government in the White Paper was as if the COP21 Paris Agreement "never happened", adding "If we were serious about climate change we would commit to fully decarbonize our energy system by 2050 at the latest. Instead Fine Gael and Labour are putting that transition back to 2100, when our great grandchildren would have to make the change. This delay will see Ireland missing out on the economic opportunities that now exist for those countries willing to show leadership and devise the low carbon energy solutions that the rest of the world is going to need."

COP21 Paris agreement on Climate Change
The Paris agreement on Climate Change is historic, but the text is complicated, and so what does it actually mean? Here's the European Commission summary. The Guardian  in the UK sheds some clarity on the high-level/macro meaning. This Irish Independent article outlines what was agreed by the 195 countries, while a second Irish Indo article examines the implications for the agri-food sector. And for those of you with time on your hands, here's the full downloadable agreement from the UNFCCC website. 

UK: Scotland’s AD industry grows 69% in a year, forecasting 200% in two years
There are now 27 anaerobic digestion projects operational in Scotland, an increase of 69% from 12 months ago. A further 43 have planning approval, with the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) forecasting that the sector could grow by 200% in the next two years. Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “These new ADBA figures show that anaerobic digestion is being taken extremely seriously by Scottish businesses. Increasingly, waste has value. The anaerobic digestion process recognises that, and turns things we don’t want, like food waste and farmyard slurry, into something we desperately need – clean, affordable electricity.” The amount of food thrown away in Scotland each year has fallen by 8% since 2009, while less than half of Scotland’s household waste was sent to landfill in 2014. More here

European News
EC roadmap for reform of the Renewable Energy Directive
The European Commission has published a roadmap ahead of next year’s proposals to reform EU legislation on renewable energy and biomass sustainability criteria. The Roadmap introduces the Commission’s main considerations on how to reform the current Renewable Energy Directive to go beyond the EU’s 2020 renewable energy commitments, adapting the directive to fulfil the 2030 commitments. 

Circular Economy Package is out: 
On December 2nd, the European Commission adopted the Circular Economy Package, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy. The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy refers to biomass and the principle of cascading (p17). The Commission will also adopt a ‘waste to energy’ initiative and examine the role of incineration of non-recyclable or preventable waste.

Pioneer EU Bioenergy Project deliverables go public
AEBIOM is partner of Bioenergy4Business (B4B), a European project supporting and promoting the substitution of fossil fuels used for heating with available bioenergy sources in the European Union and beyond. A batch of relevant deliverables went public yesterday, offering an opportunity to anyone who is interested to access not only relevant, up-to-date information on the sector in the different countries that the project touches upon (looking at the legal framework, the financial conditions, etc.), but also useful tools to help the public in tasks such as choosing the right fuel parameters, properly dimensioning boilers or even just drafting a contract model for fuel delivery. More information on this pioneer project is available on its website.

European Biogas Association
EBA's Biogas & Biomethane Report 2015 
The EBA has published the fifth edition of its statistical report, a comprehensive overview of the state of biogas and biomethane in Europe. This edition reflects the record-high growth in Europe in terms of number of plants and production. There were 17,240 biogas plants in Europe by the end of 2014. This is a 18% growth. Also development of biomethane industry shows very positive results, with 367 plants, 23% increase compared to 2013. In certain countries, such as the UK, the increase has been dramatic for example the number of biogas plants has been doubled in just one year. Two different scenarios have played out over Europe: countries who haven’t commissioned any new plants and have seen only minor developments (such as Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary); and those countries who have increased their biogas market with a substantial number of new biogas installations: the UK, France and Belgium among others. In terms of biogas production, national associations and third-party observers quantify the total amount of electricity produced from biogas at 63.3 TWh, a number that corresponds to the annual consumption of 14.6 million European households. View report 

Sweden: An ambitious proposal for a national biogas strategy
A target of 15 TWh biogas by 2030 and a whole series of prioritised key actions. Those are the main ingredients in the proposed national biogas strategy and the outcome of what has been a unique, across-the-board collaboration with representatives from leading biogas producers, distributors and users. Proposed support measures are: 
–    Extend the tax exemption for biogas beyond 2020.
–    Introduce a nationally applicable definition of ‘environmental truck’.
–    Propose a gas-powered bus subsidy.
–    Introduce an investment fund for the production of advanced biofuels.
–    Support biogas that generates double the environmental and societal benefit. Read more

ADBA predicts UK biomethane plants could quadruple by 2021
The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) forecasts that the Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review could support the construction of an additional 140 biomethane plants. Read more





Some participants at the joint IrBEA-Cre Christmas Networking event 4th December

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