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Minister of State Wallace opens Wood Fuel Supply Seminar as part of Wood Energy Week

Ms Mary Wallace TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, this week made the opening address at the 'Developing a Quality Wood Fuel Supply Chain' seminar at the Teagasc facility at Oak Park in Carlow.

The seminar has been organised by COFORD (National Council for Forestry Research and Development) and SEI (Sustainable Energy Ireland) as one of five seminars and workshops being staged across the country as part of Wood Energy Week.

Minister Wallace, who has special responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture and Food, noted that as well as producing a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuel, the cultivation of wood energy crops represents a significant potential source of income for farmers and landowners.

The Minister highlighted a number of new developments in the wood fuel sector, including the recent announcement of a new scheme from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to grant-aid wood burning boilers. The Minister also indicated that she hoped to bring in two new grant aid schemes, one to support the growing of willow as a short rotation coppice for energy crops, and another to grant aid the purchase of biomass harvesters and chippers.

Minister Wallace thanked COFORD, SEI and Teagasc for all their efforts in co-ordinating Wood Energy Week, and welcomed the participation of a wide range of participants including speakers from overseas. She hoped that the exchange of information and ideas would benefit the entire sector in facing up to the challenges ahead.

Representatives attending the seminar were later invited to a demonstration of two wood burning boilers currently in operation at the Teagasc facility in Oak Park, Carlow.

25 May 2006

Date Released: 25 May 2006