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09/28/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Naughten, Denis

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Bord na Móna

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Bord na Móna

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Bord na Móna

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Environment\Bord na Móna, issues relating to

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Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten)

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Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten)

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Denis Naughten

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Snippet Contents:

First, I would like to state that Bord na Móna is a commercial semi-State company operating under the Turf Development Acts 1946 to 1998. The matter raised by the Deputy is operational in nature and not one in which I, as Minister, have direct function. Nevertheless, as the Minister with responsibility for Bord na Móna, I am aware of the consideration by the company of plans to construct a biomass facility in the United States.
In line with the objectives set out in the national mitigation plan, Bord na Móna has committed to cease the harvesting of peat for energy purposes by 2030. This move necessitates the transition towards a more sustainable business model going forward. To this end, I recently announced the establishment of a new division of Bord na Móna, namely, Bord na Móna BioEnergy, which will focus on the development of the biomass sector in Ireland. The new division aims to be the largest supplier of sustainable biomass in Ireland and will contribute to the development of demand for biomass fuel in the country through the development of robust supply chains from both indigenous and international sources.
One of the founding principles I had ensured was written into the operation of Bord na Móna BioEnergy was stringent sustainability criteria. Bord na Móna has now confirmed to me that these sustainability systems are in excess of what is currently required at either EU level or within Irish legislation. A similar stringent criteria will be put in place regarding the renewable heat incentive scheme.
Bord na Móna BioEnergy will complement the forthcoming renewable heat incentive, which is a demand-side measure with the principal objective of contributing to meeting our national renewable energy targets. In addition, the scheme provides a key opportunity for the domestic biomass sector and commercial opportunities for farmers. This will apply not just to biomass but to biogas and biomethane as well so the issues Deputy Cahill has raised will be addressed in the renewable heat incentive.
The renewable heat incentive will be designed to incentivise commercial opportunities for renewable heat technologies, including biomass boiler installations, and it is expected that arising from that, new opportunities will open up for biomass feedstock producers and in regard to anaerobic digestion.
I wish to advise the Deputy that an investment of this nature by Bord na Móna is subject to ministerial approval from both myself and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform as the shareholding Ministers. Any request for ministerial consent would be subject to detailed financial analysis by NewERA and policy analysis by the shareholding Departments, including my Department. Such an assessment would consider all options to source biomass. At this juncture, there has been no formal request for ministerial consent in respect of this project.
In response to the Deputy’s statement that similar raw material could be available here in Ireland, I am advised that international supply chains would be required, in the short and possibly medium term, in order to meet the demand created by ramped up biomass co-firing for power and the new and expanded combined heat and power, CHP, plants across the country, particularly as a result of the forthcoming renewable heat incentive, RHI. The long-term strategy is to maximise the volume of biomass produced indigenously.
The Government is fully committed to transitioning to a low carbon energy future and the 2015 energy White Paper and the recently published National Mitigation Plan set out a clear policy framework for that.
While domestic biomass supply is currently limited, this is an area where Bord na Móna BioEnergy can play a role by encouraging growth and assisting producers in the mobilisation and optimisation of their energy crops. These measures will assist indigenous biomass producers in establishing a new source of income.