Successful Biomass Implementation in Ireland
Fiona Jennings, Renewable Energy Information Office, Ireland
Presentation at: managEnergy Workshop on Biomass utilisation at local and regional level 4-5 February 2003, Bratislava, Slovakia
Starting from a low base, Ireland has seen considerable advances in Biomass in recent times, so much so that it is foreseen that some three 50 000 tonne wood fuel production facilities will proceed within the Irish mechanical forest industry and agricultural sector in 2003. This is the result of an integrated action plan comprising market research, information dissemination, organised events, national targets and a funding programme, without which we would not have succeeded in coming thus far.
Wood energy within the mechanical forestry industry was identified as a sector with considerable potential for biomass implementation in Ireland. Subsequently, information and details of wood energy events were targeted at relevant organisations i.e, panel boardmills, sawmills, existing fuel suppliers, main forestry companies, high energy users etc. As a result of a national Wood Energy Conference, as well as a successful annual wood energy study tour which took place in Sweden in 2002 (where delegates participated in the World's First International Wood Pellets Conference, the ManagEnergy Workshop and Study Tour on small-scale biomass utilisation and visited pellet production facilities), three potential wood pellet production projects have now emerged in Ireland. All three have applied for feasibility and demonstration support under Sustainable Energy Ireland's Renewable Energy Research, Development & Demonstration programme. Establishment of wood pellet production units, and hence a reliable wood fuel supply chain in Ireland, will significantly advance the development of wood energy in large buildings with associated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in line with EU and national targets.
Results for three 50 000 tonne wood pellet production plants:
- Energy produced by renewables: 70 ktoe. This represents a 45% increase on the current use of biomass (and increases Ireland's renewable energy supply by over 50%);
- Economic benefits: Saving 176 000 tonnes (or 1.3 Million barrels) of oil per year. Annual savings of Euro 36 Million substituting for oil;
- Environmental benefits: 250 000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent;
- Jobs created: 72;
- Behavioural changes achieved: Developing wood heating systems in preference to fossil fuel systems.