Bord na Móna to sponsor upcoming IrBEA conference

The mobilisation of Irish indigenous biomass will be one of the many topics discussed at the upcoming Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) conference.

The conference, which is set to take place on Wednesday, February 26, in Croke Park, will be sponsored by Bord na Móna.

According to a statement from the IrBEA, “significant investment” in forestry since 1990 will see residual pulp wood and brash material coming to the market over the next number of years.

The Irish forestry estate is approximately 750,000ha (10% of the land area of the Republic of Ireland) and is currently in approximately 50% private ownership and 50% is state-owned.

The private-forestry network is owned by approximately 22,000 landowners of which 83% are farmers. The average size of these forestry holdings is 8.8ha.

Speaking in advance of the IrBEA conference – sponsored by Bord na Móna – Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA, said: “Mobilising Irish indigenous biomass and brash is crucial to achieving our renewable energy targets in both the electricity and heating sectors.

“Addressing the challenges of our private forestry estate will need to be overcome.

Bord na Móna is playing a positive role by helping unlock the biomass opportunity in Ireland as an outlet for residual material which will help decarbonise Ireland’s electricity grid.

“The Edenderry power plant is looking to use 100% biomass as a feedstock by 2024 which will maximise locally sourced biomass.

“Currently, Bord na Móna is sourcing most of its biomass requirements from Irish suppliers and wants to see these Irish volumes grow in the coming years.

“This growth will have the double benefit of developing biomass supply chains for industry and renewable heat and creating new jobs in rural communities.”

Des O’Toole, IrBEA’s president, said: “Sustainably-produced biomass will play a key role in Ireland’s transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a low carbon economy.

Bord na Móna is actively encouraging the mobilisation of Ireland’s private forestry resources, matching local supply with local energy demand while providing a route to market for these first and second thinning’s and brash material.

Concluding, Finan said: “Power using biomass produces a full ‘on demand’ renewable energy and complements other renewable technologies.

“When the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, biomass can guarantee a supply of renewable energy to our electricity grid.

“The use of indigenous biomass will assist Ireland to decarbonise our energy system but also drive the economic and growth agenda in rural Ireland.”