DCENR Bioenergy Steering Group and working groups
DCENR have established a Bioenergy Steering Group to finalise and oversee the implementation of the actions arising from the draft Bioenergy Plan. See details here including: Govt appointed representatives, four working groups set up to manage the work in relation to the recommendations in the draft Plan, and the draft measures. IrBEA has proposed the following Management Committee representatives for the working groups:
WG1 Electricity and heat production: Tom Bruton
WG2 Bioenergy in the transport sector: Padraic O'Neill
WG3 The supply of biomass: Chris Johnston & Pat Murphy (WFQA)
WG4 Research, Development and Demonstration: Nick Rackard
If you have any suggestions for our representatives, please forward to email@example.com and we will keep you posted about progress.
IrBEA RHI Group
IrBEA is establishing a Renewable Heat Incentive Group to lead and manage constructive, well-researched analytical input to the DCENR working group dealing with the RHI. An RHI Group committee will oversee management of the process. An invitation and explanation about joining the group was sent by email to IrBEA members on 2 March. Presentation of a draft IrBEA position paper, currently being prepared by consultant and IrBEA member Tom Bruton, will be made at a workshop for members – this is likely to take place in March.
Domestic fuels support and the Bioenergy Plan
On 16th January IrBEA hosted a members meeting on domestic fuels and how these might be supported under the Bioenergy Plan. This well attended event discussed possible options on how domestic heat users would be best incentivised to switch to renewable fuels. Ideas tabled included tax breaks, direct subsidies, subsidies through suppliers, etc. A domestic renewable support scheme would reduce carbon emissions, mitigate probable EU 2020 fines and could ensure that only fuel from legitimate and legal traders would benefit – thus discouraging black market activity. Further exploratory work will take place.
Positive vibes follow IrBEA 2015 Conference
A large turnout and positive subsequent feedback marked the 2015 Annual Bioenergy Conference held in Dublin on 4 February. Renewable heat incentive (RHI) possibilities and biomass capacity dominated presentations and discussions in this year which DCENR aims to finalise the Bioenergy Plan. Biogas and A.D. models also received coverage. Energy Minister Alex White provided an overall political perspective (full speech here). We are grateful for the support of main conference sponsor Coillte, lunch sponsor Edina, all the presenters, the high number of trade stand exhibitors and attending delegates. Speakers' presentations can be viewed here. Media coverage included Irish Farmers Journal here, Farming Independent here, Argus Biomass Markets here and Bioenergy International here.
Welcome to new IrBEA Members
Quite a number of IrBEA conference participants were non-members, and many of these have subsequently signed up as new IrBEA members. We extend a warm welcome to all new members and look forward to working for you and with you in strengthening the bioenergy industry on the island of Ireland. Your positive ideas and contributions are always welcome.
New members as at 28 February include: Grant Engineering, Bridge & York Capital Partners, Bioflame, Joe Bermingham, Purepipe Ltd, Vogelsang, Woodfab Timber, Flaherty Timber, Glas Energy, Malmberg Water AB, PB Media, KES - Energi, S&J Manufacturing.
WFQA Steering Committee January meeting
The WFQA Steering Committee discussed the advancement of the quality assurance scheme in 2015 at its most recent meeting on January 16. Taking account of wider energy sector developments in Northern Ireland, the WFQA is exploring possible links with the proposed NI Biomass Suppliers List – essentially to allow the WFQA to certify suppliers to the WFQA and BSL in parallel. During the first half of 2015 the WFQA will examine this possibility with the relevant authorities in NI. Also discussed was imported firewood on the Irish market, how this could be certified and also the disease control measures required for same. Options to address these issues will be explored.
IrBEA-Cré AD Policy Group
The Group plans to meet again in late March, to coincide with the publication of the DCENR consultation documents on RHI and replacement for REFIT. The intention is to actively seek to influence these developments using the combined weight of IrBEA and Cre membership. Currently we are working on responding to the CER consultation on gas grid connection policy, due for closure on March 13th – see details here.
IrBEA response to Irish Times 'Energy Options for Ireland' series
The Irish Times published a series of articles over three days about the Energy Options for Ireland. We were very disappointed that bioenergy was not even mentioned in the leading article 'Nine ways to power Ireland'. See IrBEA's published letter in response here. Articles in the full Irish Times' series can be found here.
Biogas3 project and 2nd phase actions
The Biogas3 project (Sustainable small-scale biogas from agri-food waste for energy self-sufficiency), which IrBEA is partnering on, is now entering its second phase. IrBEA will be running a series of workshops and site visits to small scale biogas plants over the next six months to allow potential developers view working plants in operation. IrBEA is collaborating with the Bord Bia-led initiative Origin Green to allow food producers benefit from energy recovery, CO2 emission reductions and treatment of waste materials. More details to follow in the coming weeks.
Video of Spanish agri/food companies setting up small scale biogas plants
This interesting promotional video is available from the Biogas 3 project. The Spanish partners talk to agri-food companies who have built small scale biogas plants to strengthen their business operations and reduce their energy bill. (English subtitles 3.42mins) View
Ireland as 'Europe’s Energy Innovation Hub'
Ireland has the potential to become Europe's Energy Innovation Hub, according to Energy Minister Alex White. Referring to a new report by the Electricity Association (here), he said innovation in the energy sector has the potential to create substantial economic and job creation growth in Ireland. "Energy firms directly employed over 15,500 people in 2013, and supported 32,000 more jobs indirectly. That’s 47,600 jobs, or one in every 55 jobs on this island. Most of these jobs are regionally based, making the sector a huge contributor to rural economies," he declared.
“This is a skill set that we can sell to the rest of the world, and I believe that we can become Europe’s Energy Innovation Hub. Ireland has enormous potential to develop a leading global position in the development of new energy services, and our focus must now turn to identifying and nurturing opportunities for businesses and researchers in Ireland. The completion of the energy policy review and the publication of a new energy policy later this year will provide an important context and facilitate the development of Ireland as Europe’s Energy Innovation Hub.”
Apple's €1.7bn Europe Data Centres will run entirely on renewable energy The renewables sector in Ireland has been given a huge boost with Apple's recent announcement that Athenry in Co Galway will be one of two massive new Apple data centres in Europe, each powered by 100% renewable energy. The €1.7 billion investment plan will power Apple’s online services for customers in Europe. Denmark’s central Jutland will host the second European facility. "The new facilities will run entirely on clean, renewable energy sources from day one," the company says. "Apple will also work with local partners to develop additional renewable energy projects from wind or other sources to provide power in the future. These facilities will have the lowest environmental impact yet for an Apple data centre." View press release
No SRC crop establishment support in Nth Ireland RDP
Support for short rotation coppice (SRC) in Northern Ireland through the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP) will likely be confined to capital support for harvesting equipment and facilities through a Business Investment Scheme, according to an Ulster Farmers Union communication with BENI chairman John Martin. No support is planned for crop establishment (i.e. the trees themselves) or income foregone payments. And SRC is specifically excluded from support under the RDP forestry measures. The RDP is still awaiting approval from the Commission.
UK domestic RHI installations exceed 20,000
New figures released from the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change show the uptake of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive has reached 21,932. This includes 6,244 new accreditations since April 2014, when the Domestic RHI was officially launched. The rate of uptake is also increasing. The Domestic RHI is mainly being used by homeowners although 8 per cent of all accreditations were to social landlords. The figures show that 75 per cent of the Domestic RHI installations are displacing fossil fuel heating in homes, making a significant carbon saving.
UK cuts domestic biomass RHI tariffs
Domestic biomass tariffs under the UK's RHI will be reduced by 20%, according to DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change). This is because the domestic "super trigger" for biomass has been passed, resulting in the domestic biomass tariff of 10.98p/kWh being reduced by 20% to 8.93p/kWh for all new applications from 1 April. Degressions occur if the uptake of the scheme is higher than the approved budget. The degressions won't affect existing projects which already receive the tariff, because the aim is to prevent further overspending rather than impact what has already been committed. The tariffs for air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal are not affected by the 1 April 2015 degression.
Government consultation on energy affordability
In February, the Government published a new consultation paper on affordable energy. Energy Minister Alex White is inviting opinions on whether the energy market is working for consumers. The paper contends that making homes more energy efficient is the best way to address energy poverty. Community-based Retrofit schemes have been introduced since 2011, with 285,000 homes receiving Government-assisted energy efficiency upgrades – about 120,000 of these have been delivered free of charge. The outcome of the energy affordability consultation will inform the medium-term energy strategy, which will be set out in a White Paper later this year. View consultation details in full.
Irish Cleantech companies secure funding
Dublin Company FDT Consulting Engineers is set to start a €1.6 million EU-funded Eco-innovation project called PUReOPE (Process for Upgrade and Recovery Of Polyphenol Extracts). The project has 50% funding under the EU CIP Eco-Innovation Programme. The project will commercialise a methodology for the extraction of high-value polyphenol compounds from process waste in brewing, distilling and related sectors. FDT are working with partners CPL Scientific and Exima. This process will provide environmental benefits by reducing effluent volumes and treatment requirements and a further economic benefit by recovering water and caustic suitable for re-use.
Tender Advisory Service (TAS) pilot scheme
The TAS is being piloted to assist suppliers who have issues or concerns with a procurement process carried out by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) or other public sector contracting body (excluding the commercial semi-state bodies). Operational from 1 Feb 2015, the pilot will cover all procurement processes and will be subject to review after 12 months. TAS will operate through the OGP’s Customer Service Section. Click here for further details. And see below for a current wood-chip eTender opportunity.
Wood chip eTender opportunity
Biomass suppliers may already be well informed about contract opportunities through the eTender system. For those members less familiar, here we present an interesting current example: Supply of Wood Chip to Moyderwell District Heating System. Tenders are invited for the supply of wood chip for a three-year period to the Moyderwell District Heating system located in Tralee, Co. Kerry. Response deadline is 19-03-2015 to Kerry County Council. Details here
€118m invested in energy upgrades in 2014
Energy upgrades worth €118m resulted in 24,600 homes and 900 public and commercial buildings improved, and 2,400 jobs maintained through the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources’ Better Energy programme in 2014. The detail is included in the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) end of year statement just published. €53 million of the investment came directly through Government grant support managed by SEAI. View
Biofuels Obligation Scheme 2013 Report stats
This recent report includes interesting stats on progress and achievements of the scheme for 2013. The number of BOS certs exceeded targets by 17%. Of the 94 million litres of biodiesel placed on the market in 2013, 79% was produced from Used Cooking Oil (UCO) and 20% from Category 1 Tallow. Almost 50% of all the biofuel placed on the market in Ireland is produced from UCO, which is sourced from 32 different countries. The majority is sourced from Spain (39%), followed by the USA (22.6%) and then Ireland (5.4%). The average litre of biofuel placed on the market achieved a 76% reduction in carbon intensity in comparison to road transport fossil fuel. There was an overall saving of 2.3% in the GHG emissions from the road transport sector from achieving a biofuel penetration rate of 3.65%, by volume. Issues still persist with levy returns and BOS Sustainability Statements. See report here