Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (39)

Brian Stanley


39. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the potential implications for developing a biomass industry here to sustain current and future power plants in view of the planned investment by Bord na Móna in a biomass facility in the United States of America. [7401/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department's Draft Bioenergy Plan establishes the broader context for the development of Ireland’s bioenergy sector. It recognises that meeting the demand for biomass from indigenous sources could deliver significant economic and employment benefits and contains measures to stimulate and support the supply of Irish biomass. In the short-term, international supply chains will be required to meet the demand of current and future power plants across the country.  The draft Bioenergy Plan is currently being updated to reflect the developments which have taken place since its original publication and will be published for public consultation.

  There has been significant progress to date in the use of biomass which, in 2016, provided the vast majority of the 6.8% of energy consumption in the heat sector that came from renewable sources.  The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat will open up new opportunities for indigenous biomass feedstock producers by incentivising opportunities for renewable heat technologies including biomass boiler installations.  

It is Bord na Móna’s stated policy to prioritise domestic biomass supply. Every domestic tonne sourced by the company displaces an imported tonne. In addition, Bord na Móna Bioenergy is supporting the development of the domestic biomass market by mobilising the biomass supply potential of the privately-owned forestry sector and thereby providing further opportunities for sustainable indigenous employment.

It should be noted that Bord na Móna will require my consent as shareholder, as well as the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, before proceeding with the development of a US biomass production facility. To date, no consent request to this effect has been received by my Department.