Wood Energy Workshop


Building local wood Heat Markets

14 June 2011

Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal

13:30 – 18:30


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.

This workshop brings together industry experts to investigate how to build local loops of demand and supply in the wood heat market. It is of specific interest to farmers, foresters and fuel processors. It will inform potential users on key issues for developing a wood energy project and discuss experiences in the region to date.  A key element of the workshop will be the presentation of a report, which was carried out in partnership with the SEAI and Teagasc, on the potential of energy crops in the Western Region.

While this workshop is free of charge, registration is required.

 To register please call the WDC office at 094 9861441 or email info@raslres.eu


Event Programme

 13:30     Registration and light lunch

 14:00     Welcome– Helen Rochford Brennan
                 Chairperson, Western Development Commission

                    Wood Energy in the Western Region

14:10     Wood energy resources, markets and building local
                  loops – 
Bernadette Phelan, WDC/RASLRES

             Woody Biomass Fuels and the Business of Fuel Supply

14:30      Energy crop potential in the Western Region –
Mike Wilson, Heritage Futures Ltd

Fuel from forestry and issues for developing a fuel supply business -Paddy Donovan, DARE Ltd

Business Case Study: Rural Generation Ltd – Christine Hutton, Business Development Manager (Heat/Energy) and Chris Johnston, Business Development Manager (Waste Management)

Co-operative Case Study:  Donegal Woodland Owners Co-op– John Jackson, Chairman

16:00     Break

Wood Fuel Markets and Issues for Users

16:15      Market demand for woody fuels and potential users –
                   Steve Luker, Steve Luker & Associates Ltd

Lessons from regional audit: best practice in project development –Fred Tottenham, Navitus Ltd

17:00      Panel Discussion with Questions & Answers

17:30      Wood boiler user perspective:  Tommy Gallen,
                   Owner Villa Rose Hotel will provide a site visit of their

Demonstration of the SEAI Bioenergy GIS available until 6:30p


 Paddy Donovan graduated from UCD with a degree in forestry in 1986.  Post graduation he took up a position as Harvesting Manager with Coolrain Sawmills. He became a Forest Manager with the Woodland Group in 1991. In 1998 Paddy set up Donovan Forestry Services, an independent forest consultancy service. He supplies industry expertise in forest management techniques and building a culture of forest management. His current work focuses on the potential renewable energy benefits from forests, including windfarms and solid biomass, developing supply chains. Paddy has worked with Steve Luker and Associates on projects across Ireland and Scotland and is currently working to deliver the objectives of the RASLRES project. Paddy is co-founder and director of rural development consultancy DARE Ltd. 

 Christine Hutton has worked in the Biomass Heat sector for the past 4 years and has gained a wealth of knowledge in this area. She is highly experienced in preparing feasibility reports for clients and advising them not only of the potential savings involved in a biomass heat solution but also in calculating carbon savings and assisting clients in securing financial support.

Christine is involved in a number of advisory committees. She was an advisor to the Western Development Commission for three years and is currently a member of the wood fuel quality assurance scheme oversight committee.

 John Jackson is a woodland owner. He is currently the Chairman of Donegal Woodland Owners Society and was previously Chairman of Donegal Forestry Forum.  He served as National Chairman of the IFA Farm Forestry Section from 2004 to 2007.

He farmed potatoes barley and grass to 1994. John then sold his arable farm and bought over three times his previous acreage on marginal agricultural land with good forestry potential.  He has since developed his main enterprise as forestry, adding value at the farm/forest gate and helping to grow the Donegal Woodland Owners Society Limited from the grass roots.

 Chris Johnston has worked in the industry for the past 5 years and has gained a wealth of knowledge in this area. He has an Honours degree in Microbiology from Edinburgh University and a Masters degree in Food & Agricultural Biotechnology from Reading University. He is experienced in preparing farm nutrient management plans for clients and advising them on the use of organic waste as cost effective and efficient fertiliser.

Chris also works with commercial clients assessing their effluent and sludge waste and advising them on the most environmentally sustainable and efficient way of recycling them. Chris has experience in designing, building and operating effluent irrigation systems in North America, Europe and United Kingdom.

 Steve Luker set up Steve Luker Associates Ltd in 2004.  Based in Glasgow,Steve Luker Associatesundertakes a range of work in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable development, with specialist expertise in wood energy. The company has established a diverse range of clients in the public and private sector throughout the UK and abroad.

Steve has written and contributed to renewable energy and biomass strategies and action plans for regions in Ireland, Scotland and England. He manages and delivers market development programmes in the biomass sector with regional development agencies, local authorities and others. He work includes; investigation of investment in wood energy for the public, commercial and industrial sector and management of the procurement and installation of large and small scale wood energy schemes.

 Bernadette Phelan is a Development Executive with the Western Development Commission.  She specialises in market research and enterprise development in the renewable energy sector. Projects include policy and market development work in the wood energy sector and development models for renewable energy investment. She has over ten years experience in rural enterprise development. 

Prior to joining the WDC, Bernadette worked with the LEADER company for county Kilkenny.  She holds a Masters in Rural Development from UCD, a BA in Economics & Geography from Trinity College and an Advanced Certificate in Renewable Energy from the Tipperary Institute.

 Fred Tottenham holds a mechanical engineering degree and MSc from Trinity College Dublin. Director of energy consultancy firm Navitus Ltd, Fred grew up in a family of foresters. This combination of forestry and engineering gives him a unique insight into biomass systems. Previously employed as a project engineer installing commercial woodchip boilers Fred has delivered over 50 wood chip installations in Ireland.

 Mike Wilson is a Director of Heritage Futures Ltd, with 15 years of project management experience, in process design and system implementation.  He has extensive experience working with SEAI and wider bioenergy stakeholder groups to develop a bioenergy policy strategy. 

Recent projects include: development of the bioenergy GIS; the bioenergy analysis model; overseeing a report on international bioenergy trade; assisting with development of the Wood Fuel Quality Association and most recently, initiating development of a Republic of Ireland heat demand map.