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Killeen opens Bioenergy 08 event

Mr. Tony Killeen T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for fisheries and forestry, today officially opened the 'Bioenergy 2008' event, being held in conjunction with 'Farm Fest 08' in Athenry, County Galway. The purpose of the BioEnergy event, jointly organised by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), COFORD and Teagasc, is to promote the use of solid biomass and raise awareness across all sectors from landowner to end user of the many uses and advantages in growing, harvesting and using wood fuels and energy crops for energy generation.

Speaking at the event, Minister of State Killeen commented, "With oil and other fossil fuels at record price levels, the need for alternative home produced, secure sources of energy is becoming more important all the time", and added "The good news is that there are many potential alternative and climate-friendly renewable sources of energy that we can exploit. The key words here are 'renewable' and 'climate-friendly'. Bio energy, which is a clean, renewable, source of energy, is one way of responding to this challenge."

Referring to forestry, one of his areas of responsibility within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister of State Killeen commented, "The role of forestry in our National Climate Change Strategy, through its absorption of carbon, is also important".

The Minister of State highlighted the benefits of forestry for farmers and the community in general, stating "the current forestry programme creates the opportunity for a major transformation in Irish farming, which can underpin the long -term economic viability of many holdings" and pointed out that "Forestry can create employment, often in remote rural areas where opportunities are limited."

Minister of State Killeen announced another boost for the supply chain of wood biomass in the awarding of almost ?50,000 in grants for the acquisition of further 2 wood biomass harvesting machines. He also commented that his Department is also promoting the production of energy crops as an alternative land use option as "We believe this area can provide a new source of income for farmers and other landowners".

The Minister of State concluded by welcoming the event as it provided an opportunity to get a better understanding of what bioenergy means and how it can benefit us all.

Date Released: 20 June 2008