Energy Crop Report Launched at Donegal Wood Energy Workshop

 

Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal

Earlier today at the RASRLES Wood Energy Workshop in Balybofey, Donegal, a new report “Energy Crop Opportunities in the Western Region” was launched by the Western Development Commission (WDC) as lead partner in the RASLRES project. The report was developed in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Teagasc. This report provides an analysis of the potential of energy crops in the Western Region.

RASLRES is a European bio-energy project led by the Western Development Commission. RASLRES goes to the heart of the local community by using local resources and supporting local people to develop renewable energy projects and in turn creating jobs and enterprise opportunities for rural communities. RASLRES is funded by the INTERREG IVB – Northern Periphery Programme. Our project partners are from Sweden, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Finland.

Today’s workshop entitled “Building Local Wood Energy Markets” brought together almost seventy industry stakeholders to investigate how they might work together to build local loops of demand and supply in the wood heat market in the Western Region. Of specific interest to farmers, foresters and fuel processors, the workshop provided an opportunity to inform potential users on key issues for developing a wood energy project and discuss experiences in the region to date including:

• The current wood energy scenario in the region, resources, markets and the potential for building local loops of wood energy provision

• Energy crop potential, fuel from forestry and issues relating to fuel supply

• Wood fuel markets and issues for users

The above areas were supported by case studies from Rural Generation Ltd and the Donegal Woodland Owners Co-op and lessons learned from the RASLRES regional audit of wood energy in the region.

Speaking earlier today at the workshop Helen Rochford Brennan, Chair of the WDC commented, “We are delighted to see such a large attendance for today’s workshop. This highlights the interest in the development potential for bio energy and specifically wood energy in the Western Region”.

Ian Brannigan WDC Regional Development Manager added, “In addition, the launch of the energy crop report “Wood Energy Opportunities in the Western Region” provides a substantive document which informs both those who are currently involved in bio energy in the region and those who may be thinking of getting involved in this market.”

“The report makes a series of recommendations focusing on supply chain, infrastructure, fuel processing, management of plantations and supply, and issues for the user including clustering sites, mapping, the identification of plantations near centres of demand and the potential for use of marginal land. Having a report which provides an analysis of the issues, challenges and the potential of energy crops in the region in terms of building enterprise models and job growth is hugely beneficial for the development of bio energy both on a regional and national scale. The WDC through the RASLRES project looks forward to working with Government towards meeting our CO2 emissions targets for 2020 and developing sustainable models for bio energy for the Western Region,” concluded Bernadette Phelan, WDC Development Executive.

For further information on the RASLRES project log on to www.raslres.eu or email Bernadette Phelan at the WDC at bernadettephelan@wdc.ie