IrBEA 14th National Bioenergy Conference – info update
View Agenda & Speaker Line Up
This year’s National Bioenergy Conference is kindly sponsored by Coillte. The Energy Minister Alex White T.D. has accepted an invitation to open the conference. It takes place as the Bioenergy Plan for Ireland is due for finalisation. Our speakers are acutely aware of the opportunities for accelerated sustainable sector development – and the action needed to make it happen.
This year for the first time there is an opportunity to book for an IrBEA networking drinks & dinner which will run immediately after the conference from 5pm – see further details on the agenda flyer. If you would like to make further enquires about trade stands at this event please contact Teresa O'Brien: firstname.lastname@example.org Entrance to the event is €75 for members, €150 for non members and €300 for a trade stand (2 delegates) lunch included.
We are grateful to EDINA for sponsoring the conference lunch.
IrBEA-Cré joint AD Policy Group formed....
IrBEA and Cré have agreed to work together on anaerobic digestion policy during the consultation period for finalisation of the Bioenergy Strategy. The new 'IrBEA–Cré Anaerobic Digestion Policy Group' will be the principal industry voice on AD. Both associations will retain separate other functions and identities, while this collaboration will allow a better pooling of knowledge, robust evidence and ideas – and a stronger voice in working to secure the future growth and success of the AD industry. It will produce a draft document on anaerobic digestion policy which both associations will consult their members on.
Logs competition boosts WFQA awareness
The new working group has three representatives from each association. Initially IrBEA's representatives are Padraic O'Neill (main contact), Noel Gavigan and Thomas Flynn; Cré's initial representatives are Percy Foster (main contact), David McDonnell, Morgan Burke, Michael Geary. A Memorandum of Understanding agreed in December 2014 by IrBEA and Cré forms the basis of the collaboration. The MoU also provides for other wider collaboration where considered appropriate – including sharing information, attendance at each other's events, joint promotion and advertising, etc. See CRE/IRBEA MoU and Press Release.
.... and meet DCENR on REFIT, RHI & the Bioenergy Plan
A joint IrBEA/Cre delegation representing mainly members interested in AD development met DCENR officials on 12th January. The group expressed members' concerns at the unsatisfactory uptake of REFIT 3, principally due to the inadequate rates. Clarification was sought on DCENR’s plans for a replacement for REFIT 3 and the proposed RHI. DCENR expects to mobilise consultations within weeks on both these subjects. On the Bioenergy strategy, DCENR advised that the steering group would be set-up shortly, with industry representation. We asked for both IrBEA and CRE to be represented on it.
IrBEA preparing RHI policy position paper
IrBEA is preparing a draft position paper on the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive, highlighting challenges and policy options for the consultation phase of the bioenergy plan. Issues being considered in the policy paper include rates of support (c/kWh), scale eligibility criteria and limits, metering, equipment and installation quality, funding the policy, pros and cons of mirroring the NI RHI, administration and governance. The intention is to circulate to IrBEA members during the coming few weeks, to have ready for input into the Bioenergy Steering Group as it meets to finalise the bioenergy plan.
Progress on changes to animal by-products regulations
The Animal By-Products Forum with the Department of Agriculture has produced agreed draft regulations for the treatment of ABPs in biogas plants, composting plants and transformation plants. In our most recent meeting (26 Nov'14) IrBEA requested that 'type 9 plants' (currently on-farm using only own ABPs) also be allowed to use imported non-ABPs. This request was accepted by the Department. The suite of agreed draft regulations are expected to be put to the Minister shortly.
DAFM approves grant aid for WFQA promotion
Grant aid for WFQA promotional activities for 2015 has been approved by the Forest Sector Development Division of Department of Agriculture, Forestry and the Marine. The funds provide important resources for presence at trade shows, advertising, video presentations and website upgrade, and support for executive services. Certification services continue to be paid for by applicants/certified members. IrBEA wishes to thank DAFM for continuing to support development of WFQA within the forest sector.
A pallet of kiln-dried firewood proved a big attraction at the at the Ideal Homes Show over October Bank Holiday weekend. Almost 600 curious onlookers were drawn to WFQA's firewood guessing competition for the chance to win the pallet of logs to warm against the rapidly advancing winter. The big interest in the logs was an ideal opportunity to explain to participants about the WFQA scheme and promote its benefits. WFQA members who volunteered to man the stand have subsequently benefited from increased sales, and information about the competition entrants is being disseminated to all certified members. One North Co. Dublin supplier has seen his business grow considerably as client satisfaction has led to a string of new customers. Retailers in this part of Dublin are increasingly keen to use WFQA suppliers. And...the lucky winner of the pallet of logs was Pauline Moynihan, Co. Meath.
BENI joins IrBEA and Energy Crops Group
Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) joined IrBEA and the Energy Crops Group at the end of November 2014. At a joint BENI-Energy Crops Group meeting kindly hosted by Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the chairman of BENI John Martin signed an MoU along with IrBEA director Michael Doran (Action Renewables) – see photo. The agreement is the culmination of a series of meetings between the two associations during 2014. It provides: a) all BENI members (currently numbers approx.12 mostly SR energy crops growers and wood fuel suppliers) full membership of IrBEA and the Energy Crops Group; b) the chair of BENI a place on the IrBEA Management Committee; c) an IrBEA executive to act as executive to BENI, providing organisational and co-ordination support, publicity, representation, etc (initially executive role to be shared between Roisin Grimes and Noel Gavigan). BENI will retain its status as a registered association in Northern Ireland. In effect BENI and the IrBEA Energy Crops Group will be similar groupings under the IrBEA umbrella but with distinct aims and committees.
Meanwhile, a more prominent and coordinated approach to lobbying on bioenergy North & South was agreed at the November Energy Crops Group meeting at AFBI. WFQA representatives made a presentation about the scheme, and IrBEA will submit a briefing note to DETI on why WFQA could be a standard for wood fuels in compliance for the NI Biomass Suppliers list.
3rd Edition of Irish Bioenergy Map
La Tene maps in association with IRBEA are happy to announce the 3rd edition of the Irish Bioenergy Map for 2015 which will be launched at the upcoming conference on the 4th of February. The map will be significantly developed from the previous edition and boast facilities not only in production, but also at the planning stage. It will shows sites producing power and heat from Dedicated Biomass, Co Firing, Anaerobic Digestion, Energy from Waste, Landfill and Sewage Gas. Sites producing Biodiesel, Bioethenol and Biogas will also be shown. In addition Solid Biomass Fuel Production/Distribution sites and Biomass Producer Groups are also included. To include sites on this map or to enquiry about sponsorship opportunities contact Rachel Slattery at 046 9773434 or email email@example.com
IrBEA, Teagasc consider cooperation on events
Preliminary discussions have taken place between IrBEA and Teagasc to consider possibilities for joint events on bioenergy. Collaboration would maximise the use of limited resources and be beneficial to clients/members of both organisations. Workshops, seminars and demonstrations, on small scale and in regional locations are being considered. Further information will be provided in the coming months.
White Paper consultation notes
IrBEA was represented by Tom Bruton, Noel Gavigan and Fred Tottenham in five of the six Energy White Paper consultation workshops/seminars held in Dublin during Oct-Dec (the sixth was over-subscribed). First below is a short overall impression of the consultation process, then brief summaries/impressions from each workshop attended (in the order they occurred). Links to submissions and seminar presentations are here:
The whole process is rather protracted. It is apparent that no White Paper will be published until at least Q3 2015. There will be a further workshop on pricing in January (to be confirmed). The main focus is around electricity and grid infrastructure, and this is the predominant public appetite for consultation and engagement on how energy policy affects consumers in their back yard, usually perceived as a negative impact. While certainly the Bioenergy Plan is part of the overall energy policy, the development of a Bioenergy Plan seems to be running along an independent and parallel track to the White Paper.
Empowering Energy Citizens (Priority area 1)
This seminar focussed on planning and public acceptance issues for larger scale energy projects and their associated infrastructure. IrBEA recommends designing investment schemes to be accessible for local needs and encouraging community investments on a tax-free basis.
Ensuring a balanced and secure energy mix (Priority area 4)
Markets and Regulation (Priority area 2)
A consensus that DCENR needs considerably more human resources in this area to deal with the huge demands integrating renewable energy. Discussion strongly focused on electricity, especially the strong public backlash against wind projects.
Realising the Economic Opportunity (Priority area 6)
Mainly this was about job creation and economic development associated with energy projects, much of it focussed on wind energy and electricity generation. IrBEA reminded participants of the €7 billion annual fossil fuel bill for heating and transport. SEAI quoted jobs and economic data from the SEAI-funded IrBEA socio-economic benefits study (2012).
Putting the Energy System on a Sustainable Pathway (Priority area 5)
Excellent presentations dealing with the practical aspects of renewable energy and a realistic view on what technology is proven and can readily contribute to energy supply, and what technologies are expensive, require further development and are unlikely to contribute in the near term – if at all. Solid discussion around biomass being able to supply thermal energy at low cost for industry.
Consultation for Regional Waste Management Plans
IrBEA executive Noel Gavigan attended the Irish Waste Management Conference in November, which marked the opening of a consultation period for Regional Waste Management Plans. This has significance for the biogas sector and in particular the supply of brown bin feedstock for biogas plants. There are three designated waste management regions – East Midlands, Connacht Ulster, and the Southern Region – each with their own individual plans. IrBEA will formulate a response to these consultations with members' input. Brown Bin roll-out is happening now, on a pay per weight basis. However there is a possibility that waste operators could favour handling organic wastes in the general waste bin for logistical and cost reasons (one less bin to collect). To encourage brown bin uptake it is essential pay per weight rates are kept below residual waste pay per weight rates. This will ensure householders separate sufficient organic materials for utilisation in biogas plants.
Another key requirement is that waste plans give indications on required capacity per region – we know from experience that An Bord Pleanála use the waste regional plans to determine if proposed waste infrastructure (i.e. biogas plants, waste transfer stations, etc) are required. Historically, they have refused permission for such plants by quoting the regional plans and current capacity, and stating that a proposed plant may be “too big” or "not required". This has brought them into conflict with commercial operators who consider it should not be a decision taken by the planning authorities.
'Cleantech in Ireland 2014' report launched
Dublin’s cleantech cluster The Green Way has launched the report on the status of 'Cleantech in Ireland 2014', providing an overview of current status, strengths and future potential of the sector. A total of 540 cleantech companies are identified – 52% of these are located in Dublin and 72% in Leinster. Read the full report , view the definitions of the cleantech categories, and the press release. The Green Way was established in 2010 as Dublin’s cleantech cluster, to stimulate economic growth and employment in the green economy.
Using fast growing woody plants for management of wastewater
Fast growing woody plants such as willow offer good possibilities for managing wastewater streams and effluents – and producing biomass fuel for boilers. These are findings of the AFBI-led ANSWER project investigating the use of willow plants for the bioremediation of effluent. See closing reports and presentations
UK biogas producers must cut emissions to get RHI payments
Owners of biomethane plants receiving RHI funding will have to demonstrate 60% cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the point of injection into the grid. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) originally said the cuts should be at the point of use. But trade associations argued this would be impossible for operators to control. The changes will affect all bioenergy plants. A reporting system will open in spring 2015, with all operators receiving RHI having to report and meet the 60% reductions by the autumn. Source: Farmers Weekly