Dear IrBEA Members

1. North's RHI closure on 29th February confirmed. Last week we reported Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) Minister Jonathan Bell had announced the domestic and non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes in Northern Ireland will close on the 29th February. The NI Assembly duly approved the closure earlier this week, see Notice of Suspension. Responding to the move, John Martin, Chairman of Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) issued a press release and called for "urgent talks between the NI Government and the heat sector to plan an appropriate way forward". The Belfast Telegraph reported this. In a further step this week, John Martin wrote to Minister Bell (cc'd to UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd and to Patsy McGlone, MLA Chairperson, Committee of Enterprise, Trade and Investment) requesting an urgent meeting  to discuss the implications of the suspension and to consider an appropriate policy framework going forward to 2020 and beyond. See letter.

2. Information on the Gas Innovation Fund – Gas Networks Ireland. At the end of 2015 IrBEA and Cré jointly wrote to GNI requesting answers to the following questions about the Gas Innovation Fund. 
    - How can our members apply to this fund?
    - What are the fund’s’ scope, terms and conditions?
    - What projects have been supported to date?
    - How much funding has been approved?
    - What is the application process?
    - What criteria determine success or failure?
    - What provisions are in place to ensure fund transparency in the future?
This week we received the following response from GNI:
Gas Networks Ireland welcome your interest in the Gas Innovation Group. In order to obtain the answers to your questions below – please find the Gas Innovation Group section on our website. The application forms and evaluation criteria are outlined on the site and there is detail also in the application forms themselves. We would welcome applications from you and your members.
Daniel FitzPatrick
Gas Innovation Group Secretariat

3. Videos of speakers' presentations - National Bioenergy Conference, 3 Feb 2016.  In response to requests, IrBEA is now providing a click-and-view of the presentations from the National Bioenergy Conference held on 3rd February. Each of the nine speaker presentations are available in full (sound and vision), and this new service for IrBEA members and other interested parties provides more enduring value from our quality speaker line-up. See videos on the IrBEA homepage here and if you would like to see the press releases and presentations (pdf), view here.

4. Carbon impacts of biomass consumed in the EU - new report. This is a new study by the UK's Forest Research (the research agency of the Forestry Commission). It is a quantitative assessment evaluating the impacts on GHG emissions associated with six scenarios for the supply and consumption of biomass for energy within the EU region. 
Reference Scenario A represents the case where existing policy targets for renewable energy consumption and reductions in GHG emissions, set for 2020, should be met, but no further explicit policies or measures are taken to go further than the 2020 targets. Four decarbonisation scenarios, ‘Carry on’ Scenarios, represent cases in which policies and measures with regard to renewable energy consumption and reductions in GHG emissions go further than the existing 2020 targets, by setting more ambitious targets for 2030, involving increased use of bioenergy. Report can be downloaded here.  

Michael Hegarty
IrBEA General Manager

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