Budget 2021 is expected to be a watershed budget in terms of driving towards 2030 and 2050 climate actions, according to the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA).

Government support for Irish bioenergy industry – such as biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels – through dedicated support and development measures will greatly assist in meeting Ireland’s targets, the association says.

Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, explained: “The industry in Ireland is waiting for its full potential to be realised by the government.

“The budget presents the government with an opportunity to announced measures and supports which will help to mobilise our industry across the different sectors.

There is significant potential for bioenergy to contribute to renewable heat, transport and electricity targets, provide opportunities to farmers through farm diversification and development of alternative enterprises, development of rural jobs and addressing the climate changes and emissions challenges faced by the country.

IrBEA is calling for a mixture of supports, policy announcements and practical issues to be addressed in the Budget and Finance Act which are impacting the industry and its members.

Finan continued, stating: “Bioenergy is a thriving industry across Europe, and one that Ireland needs to fully embrace.

“In challenging times it is vital to exploit all proven opportunities to tackle climate change, renew and expand well paid and secure employment and enable security of energy supply.”

Despite the fact that Ireland has a natural advantage in producing bioenergy due to our mild climate and fertile land, out of 28 member states Ireland is 27th in terms of its use of renewable heat.

According to the organisation, Ireland has a unique opportunity to build a significant industry with multiple benefits.

Ireland currently derives 4% of its energy from bioenergy, this needs to rise to 15% by 2030 with further deployment beyond to meet Paris Agreement targets, the potential for economic recovery through quadrupling our bioenergy industry is a remarkable opportunity.

Finan continued, stating:

While our focus is on using bioenergy in the transition away from fossil fuels, we acknowledge that [in] building sustainable, economic and social recovery we should also embrace related renewable technologies as well achieving the development of sustainable materials and the protection of our ecosystems.

“Essentially we need to marshal a wide range of technologies and renewable fuels to decarbonise the energy sector,” the CEO concluded.