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Wallace opens Bioenergy 2007 event

Ms Mary Wallace TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with responsibility for forestry, officially opened the Bioenergy 2007 event in Oak Park, Carlow today. The purpose of the event, organised jointly by Sustainable Energy Ireland, COFORD and Teagasc, is to promote the use of solid biomass and raise awareness across all sectors, from landowner to end user, on the many uses and advantages in growing, harvesting and using wood fuels and energy crops for energy generation. The event combined a comprehensive technology and product exhibition with conference, seminar and workshop sessions, field excursions, site visits and practical demonstrations.

Referring to Ireland's dependence on imported energy and the urgent need to develop alternative sources of energy, the Minister of State commented: "The good news is that there are many potential alternative and climate friendly renewable sources of energy that we can exploit," and added: "Ireland has an excellent growing climate for trees and other biomass crops. Wood in its many forms, willow, miscanthus and other agriculture crops have the potential to significantly contribute to Ireland reducing its dependence on imported fossil fuels."

Minister of State Wallace also launched a new COFORD publication on Harvesting and Processing Forest Biomass for Energy Production in Ireland based on the Forest Energy 2006 programme of demonstrations and trials that investigated the harvesting of wood chip fuel from privately-owned forests. This publication brings together and analyses the results of Forest Energy 2006 in terms of how well the different harvesting and processing systems worked and how cost effective they were. The Minister of State complimented the authors Pieter Kofman and Tom Kent (Waterford Institute of Technology) for putting together a timely and comprehensive report and welcomed the latest series of demonstrations, which are again being organised by COFORD, Teagasc and Waterford Institute of Technology.

She also noted that the National Bio Energy Action plan, arising from the Ministerial Taskforce on Bio energy, recognises Ireland's significant potential in bio energy resources and sets ambitious targets and strategies to increase deployment in the heat, electricity and transport sectors. Referring to her own area of responsibility, Minister of State Wallace added: "With the increasing evidence of climate change before us, with the need to find alternative fuels, with the demand for cleaner air and a better environment, it is more important than ever that we plant more forests and exploit all the renewable energy options available to us."

30 August 2007

Date Released: 30 August 2007