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Minister of State McEntee Highlights Importance of Agriculture and Forestry Sectors in Meeting Renewable Energy Targets

Speaking at the Teagasc National Bioenergy Conference in Tullamore today, Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Food, Food Safety and Horticulture emphasised the important contribution that the agriculture and forestry sectors have to play in meeting future renewable energy targets in Ireland.

Referring to potential contribution from the sectors, he said "It is already clear that agriculture and forestry will have a major role to play in meeting these targets.  The bioenergy sector offers the opportunity to redress Ireland's dependence on imported fossil fuels, and reduce Irelands Greenhouse Gas Emissions, while at the same time providing a new set of market opportunities for the agricultural sector.  Bioenergy is key to addressing energy needs across the heat, electricity and transport sectors.  Since the raw material can be sourced locally it also creates opportunities for employment, particularly in rural areas."

The Minister also highlighted the supports provided by his Department in developing the renewable energy sector, particularly the grant support offered under the Bioenergy Scheme to facilitate the planting of almost 3,000 hectares of the energy crops miscanthus and willow, with an additional 800 hectares to be established under the Scheme in 2011.

Concluding, the Minister referred to the major role that the agriculture and forestry sectors will have to play in meeting renewable energy targets as well as contributing to the offsetting of fossil fuel imports, reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, providing an alternative land use and income source for farmers, and creating employment in the local economy.

Date Released: 20 April 2011