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Support Scheme for Renewable Heat a heat sector game changer says IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes the announcement earlier today by Minister Bruton that the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) is open for applications as of June 4, 2019.
"The introduction of the SSRH is a game changer as Ireland now urgently needs to address its declared climate emergency," says Des O’Toole, President IrBEA.

Log truck weigh bridge at Laois Sawmills.

According to IrBEA, the announced second phase of the Irish Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) would require approximately 360 000 tonnes of woodchip or 250 000 tonnes of wood pellets per annum, a welcome outlet for the increased supply of forest fibre projected over the next 15 years.

IrBEA notes that the second phase of the scheme, announced by the Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. on June 4, 2019, is based on 1 300 GWh of renewable heat per year. Furthermore that it is envisaged approximately 360 000 tonnes of woodchip or 250 000 tonnes of wood pellets will be required to support this new scheme on a yearly basis.

The introduction of the SSRH is a game changer as Ireland now urgently needs to address its declared climate emergency. As well as contributing towards Ireland’s ambitious renewable energy targets, the expected growth in demand for biomass will be a key outlet for the increased supply of forest fibre projected over the next 15 years. Its introduction is welcomed and will stimulate further investment across the forestry supply chain and support the creation of new jobs across the rural economy. Ireland now needs to show leadership and drive the climate change agenda and the SSRH is a step in the right direction, said IrBEA President Des O’Toole.

IrBEA will be running a technical workshop on ‘All you need to know about the SSRH’ aimed at heat users, technology providers, woodfuel suppliers and anyone with an interest in the sector on June 21, 2019, although a full line-up of speakers and a Dublin-venue have yet to be confirmed.

After years of waiting and lobbying, IrBEA welcomes the announcement of the opening of the SSRH scheme for Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion (Biogas) heat systems. The biomass heating sector is currently in a state of stagnation and has waited many years for this scheme to open. This scheme is the kick-start that this industry requires to mobilise the renewable heat sector in Ireland. We are currently reviewing the full terms and conditions of the scheme released this morning.  I strongly encourage non-domestic heat users including farmers to consider applying for this scheme and install a biomass heating system through the SSRH which will deliver long term environmental and economic benefits, said Seán Finan, CEO, IrBEA.

However, IrBEA points out that the SSRH scheme will only be successful in assisting with reaching the Irish renewable heat targets if a significant budget is ring-fenced for the scheme.

Minister Bruton and his Department needs to ensure that a significant budget is set aside for this scheme in future years to ensure that the scheme reaches the significant potential which exists to change non-domestic heat-users from fossil fuel based heating sources to renewable biomass sources. In IrBEA, we continue to promote best practices in the biomass heating sector through our Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) and are currently developing our biomass heating systems register of designers and installers, ended Seán Finan.

A bag of GWP wood pellets produced by Laois Sawmills.

The “Green Wood Pellets” brand is produced by the Republic of Ireland’s only pellet manufacturer Laois Sawmills.

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