By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Wallace highlights value of Energy Crops

Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today called on farmers to consider energy crops as an alternative land use option. Minister Wallace said: "I believe that bio-energy offers a real, feasible and cost effective alternative to imported fossil fuels, and with the development of a real market for bio-energy, a new and significant alternative source of income is also now emerging for farmers and other landowners." Under CAP reform, farmers now have the freedom to focus more clearly on exploiting new farming opportunities, including agricultural production for non-food use, while retaining their single payment.

Minister Wallace stated that her department had a strong interest in bioenergy and, in particular, the market opportunities for farmers in purpose grown energy crops for use as a renewable source of energy in the heat, electricity and liquid bio-fuels markets. "Significant funding is being made available over the coming years to encourage farmers to grow energy crops." said Minister Wallace. She went on "The funding includes €8 million for a new Bio-energy Scheme to encourage farmers to grow miscanthus and willow to produce heat and electricity. An additional €6 million is being provided for a national payment of €80 per hectare, which will be paid as a top-up to the €45 EU premium available under the EU Energy Crops Scheme."

Minister Wallace said she was confident this package of measures would help to kick start production of energy crops at farm level.

Minister Wallace went on to say that the bioenergy sector is now a major part of Ireland's renewable energy policy as reflected by the publication of a National Bioenergy Action Plan to develop Ireland's bioenergy resources to 2020. The Plan sets out a number of actions to increase deployment of bioenergy in the transport, heat and electricity markets. The Minister added that bioenergy can make a positive contribution to a wide range of policy objectives including security of energy supplies, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the opening up new markets for agricultural production. "It is essential that farmers, foresters and the rural economy benefit from this drive to promote bioenergy and that production is based on locally produced feedstock. This would help to stimulate diversification of farm incomes and contribute to the development of rural economies".

In conclusion, the Minister said she was confident the bioenergy sector in Ireland is poised for growth and could become the most important new area of renewable energy development over the next decade.

20 August, 2007

Date Released: 20 August 2007