EUBIONET Biomass survey in Europe Country report of Republic of Ireland. Kevin Healion, Tipperary Institute

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1 EUBIONET Biomass survey in Europe Country report of Republic of Ireland Kevin Healion, Tipperary Institute Thurles, Co. Tipperary Ireland. 2003

2 Contents 1. Introduction National RES policy and role of bioenergy Energy Market and the role of biomass fuels References...9 APPENDICES A Major sawmills in the Republic of Ireland B Policy and legislative references 2

3 1. Introduction A comprehensive assessment of the renewable energy resources of the Republic of Ireland was completed by ESBI and ETSU (1997). The study focuses on the potential for electricity generation (rather than for heat production or as vehicle fuels). The practical potential of bioenergy resources is estimated as shown in Table 1 below. The table shows that short rotation crops have very significant potential. There are also good resources of wood industry residues, forest residues and agricultural solid waste. Table 1. Practical bioenergy potential for electricity generation, Republic of Ireland Resource Practical Potential in 2000 (MWe) Short Rotation Crops 2119 Wood Industry Residues 159 Forest Residues 43 Agricultural solid waste 38 Landfill Gas 18 Agricultural Waste Biogas 7 Sewage Sludge Biogas 1 Source: ESBI and ESTU (1997). Table 2 shows the Total Primary Energy Requirement (TPER) by energy source in the Republic of Ireland for the years 1990, 1995 and It proved difficult to obtain the range and detail of data suggested in the biomass survey template provided by VTT Processes. Table 2 shows that about 5 PJ of wood fuels are used per annum in the Republic of Ireland, and about 1 PJ of energy is provided by landfill gas. The 5 PJ of wood fuels is divided into two roughly equal parts: the use of wood industry residues to provide heating, and the use of firewood in the domestic sector. All of the wood fuels are used for heat production there is no generation of electricity or Combined Heat and Power. 3

4 Table 2. Total primary energy requirement (TPER) by energy source in Republic of Ireland, PJ. Energy source Wind energy 1 Hydro power 3 Wood fuels, of which 5 * black liquor 0 * industrial wood residues (estimated) 2.5 * firewood (domestic) (estimated) 2.5 Straw and SRC MSW 0 Biogas (landfill) 1 Solar thermal Solar PV Geothermal 0 Heat pumps Other RES Total RES Oil Coal Natural gas Nuclear power Net imports of electricity Other (peat and LPG) Total, PJ Total, Mtoe Sources: ESRI, 2001; Jacob, 2001 Figure 1 below presents the TPER for the year 2000 as a pie chart. This clearly demonstrates the low penetration of renewables in the Republic of Ireland, at 2% of TPER. 4

5 Figure 1. Primary energy requirement by source in the Republic of Ireland in National RES policy and role of bioenergy The Green Paper on Sustainable Energy (Department of Public Enterprise, 1999) is the key energy policy document at present in the Republic of Ireland. The focus of the Green Paper is on electricity production. It aims to increase the percentage of TPER derived from renewable sources from 2% in 2000 to 3.75% by 2005 (Sustainable Energy Ireland, 2002). It sets a working target of 500MWe of additional electricity generating capacity from renewable resources for the period , the bulk of which will come from wind. The key mechanism through which renewable energy development is promoted is the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER), a competitive tendering system that offers Power Purchase Agreements of 10 or 15 years in duration (however, support mechanisms for renewable energy are to be reviewed during 2003). The latest round of the AER competition (AER VI) sets targets for bioenergy as follows: biomass (likely to be landfill gas) 8 MW; biomass steam cycle CHP 28 MW; biomass anaerobic digestion 2 MW. Biomass CHP projects under the scheme must be operating by the end of Other biomass projects must be operating by the end of Under the EU directive for the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources, the Republic of Ireland has been set an indicative target of 13.2% of its national 5

6 electricity consumption to be from renewable sources by 2010, compared with 3.6% (0.84 TWh) in The Government of Ireland in response has stated that the national indicative target is to contribute a minimum 13.2% of green electricity to total electricity consumption by It is expected that green electricity will contribute to between 9% and 12% of gross consumption by 2005 (Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, 2002) As a consequence of the 1997 Kyoto agreement, Ireland has made a commitment to limit the growth in greenhouse gas emissions to 13% above the 1990 level by the target period The National Climate Change Strategy (Department of the Environment and Local Government, 2000) sets out how Ireland will achieve this target. Without the actions set out in the Strategy, it is projected that net annual emissions would increase by 37%. Reductions of 13.1 Mt CO 2 equivalent are required to meet the target. The Strategy promotes the increased use of renewables, including short rotation coppice and anaerobic digestion. It sets a target to reduce emissions by 1 million tonnes of CO 2 equivalent by 2010 through the increased deployment of renewables. The Electricity Regulation Act 1999 established an independent regulator for the electricity market. The regulator now also has responsibility for the gas market, and is known as the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER Full market access has been granted to green electricity and electricity from CHP. The Sustainable Energy Act 2002 established Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI as a statutory body, incorporating the Irish Energy Centre. SEI has been allocated 185 million in the National Development Plan Its brief is to promote the development of a sustainable national energy economy, through a greater awareness and understanding of energy issues, more efficient energy use, and a greater exploitation of renewable energy sources. Among the initiatives it is leading are: the Renewable Energy Information Office to promote and provide information about renewable energy sources; and a 16 million Renewable Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Programme. It is indicated that between 6.3 and 10 million of the programme will be allocated to Wind and Biomass. The Programme offers 10% capital grant support for demonstration projects, such as; Biomass Combined Heat and Power Plants; Biomass Heating Plants; Biogas AD Heat or Power Plants. There is also a Research & Development element which offers up to 50% support (or 100% if the R&D is considered to be for the public good). COFORD (the National Council for Forest Research and Development - has funded research and public awareness work on wood energy, including an upcoming strategic plan for wood energy in Ireland. Research on the potential for centralised anaerobic digestion has been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Two pilot projects for the production of short-rotation willow coppice have been funded by 6

7 the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, totalling 100 hectares. The role of renewable energy development in promoting rural development is increasingly being recognised, and research and demonstration projects in the bioenergy sector have been supported under the EU LEADER programme. Carbon energy taxation is to introduced in the Republic of Ireland in 2004: the Government has asked the relevant Departments to advance the plans for a general carbon energy tax, with a view to introducing this from the end of (McCreevy, 2002). A greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme is also being introduced in response to the proposal for a EU wide scheme. There is no renewable energy certificate system in the Republic of Ireland. 3. Energy Market and the role of biomass fuels As stated in Section 1, the use of bioenergy in the Republic of Ireland is principally wood fuels and landfill gas. Wood fuels are used in the wood processing sector and the domestic sector. In both sectors the use of the wood fuel is to provide heat. There is no production of electricity or CHP from wood fuels. All of the heating applications for wood fuel use individual systems there is no district heating using wood fuels. Landfill gas is all used for electricity generation (six plant locations). As reported in the AFB-net Phase V report on Export and Import Possibilities and Fuel Prices there is no significant export or import of solid biomass fuels from or into the Republic of Ireland. There is however increasing interest in importing wood pellets in order to kick-start a market for this form of wood fuel. A number of organisations have expressed interest in manufacturing wood pellets in Ireland, including a major solid fuel supplier, and a large sawmill. The domestic firewood sector in Ireland is not as structured as in other EU Member States. In Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic the woodfuel market was dominated by farm woodland and hedgerow exploitation, or with waste from the arboricultural industry. Because this market was not linked to the established forestry sector and was not, normally, scrutinised by the tax authorities, woodfuel sales were not accurately catalogued or understood. (Blackstock and Binggeli, 2000). People also purchase round wood from Coillte Teoranta (the State forestry company - and process it themselves. There are no quality standards for the firewood sold on the Irish market. Wood industry residues (e.g. sawdust, bark, boiler fuel) are used to supply space and process heat in sawmills and the five panel board mills on the island of Ireland. There is trading in this sector as sawmills supply residues to the panel board mills for use as fuel. 7

8 As with the domestic firewood market there are no formal quality standards. Sixteen of the largest sawmills on the island of Ireland are members of the Irish Timber Council. Thirteen of these are located in the Republic of Ireland. These are listed in Appendix 1. The sawmills are increasingly interested in the possibilities offered by the energy market to provide added-value outlets for sawmill residues. 8

9 4. References Blackstock, P. & Binggeli, P. (2000). Development of a market strategy for domestic fuelwood in Ireland. ALTENER Contract no /Z/98-573, unpublished report. UAOS Ltd., Portadown, Co. Armagh. Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, (2002). Report on a proposed national programme to increase the gross consumption of green electricity. - Compliance with Directive 2001/77/EC (Article 3.2). Dublin. Department of the Environment and Local Government, National Climate Change Strategy Ireland. Dublin. Available on Department of Public Enterprise, Green Paper on Sustainable Energy. Dublin. ESBI and ETSU, (1997). Total Renewable Energy Resource in Ireland. ALTENER contract number XVII/4.1030/T4/95/IRL. Dublin. EU ESRI, (2001). Energy Demand Projection Model. Economic and Social Research Institute. Dublin. Jacob, J. (2001). Answer to Dáil Question No. 30, 20 th June Minister of State in the Department of Public Enterprise. Dublin. McCreevy, C. (2002). Financial Statement of the Minister for Finance, Mr. Charlie McCreevy, T.D., 4 December Dublin. Sustainable Energy Ireland, (2002). Renewable Energy Research, Development & Demonstration Programme - Programme Strategy, Dublin. Available from 9

10 Appendix A: Major Sawmills in the Republic of Ireland Name County Balcas Timber Ltd. Coolrain Sawmills Ltd. Drenagh Sawmills Ltd. ECC Teo Glennon Bros Ltd. Glennon Bros Ltd. Laois Sawmills Ltd. Murray Timber Products Ltd. Murray Timber Products Ltd. Nordale (Banagher Sawmills) Palfab Ltd. SFE (Grainger Sawmills Ltd.) Woodfab Timber Ltd. Co. Leitrim Co. Laois Co. Donegal Co. Galway Co. Cork Co. Longford Co. Laois Co. Carlow Co. Galway Co. Offaly Co. Cork Co. Cork Co. Wicklow 10

11 Appendix B: Policy and Legislative References For a more detailed discussion, see Section 2. POLICY, LAW OR REGULATION Green Paper on Sustainable Energy (Department of Public Enterprise, 1999) Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) Compliance with Directive 2001/77/EC (Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, 2002) National Climate Change Strategy (Department of the Environment and Local Government, 2000) Electricity Regulation Act 1999 Sustainable Energy Act 2002 Financial Statement of the Minister for Finance (McCreevy, 2002). EU Proposal for a Directive establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community. MAIN SUBJECT Aims to increase the percentage of TPER derived from renewable sources from 2% in 2000 to 3.75% by Competitive tendering system that offers Power Purchase Agreements of 10 or 15 years in duration. Sets a national indicative target of a minimum 13.2% of green electricity to total electricity consumption by Sets a target to reduce emissions by 1 million tonnes of CO 2 equivalent by 2010 through the increased deployment of renewables. Established an independent regulator for the electricity market. The regulator now also has responsibility for the gas market, and is known as the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). Established Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) as a statutory body. Carbon energy taxation is to introduced in the Republic of Ireland in Consultations have commenced in the Republic of Ireland on a greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme. 11

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