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What is Bioenergy?

Bioenergy is energy generated from renewable biomass and it covers a wide range of materials and processes. Potential agriculture bioenergy sources include purpose grown energy crops such as willow, forest thinning, waste material and timber by-products for biomass. Liquid biofuels and biogas can substitute for conventional transport fuels, while solid biomass and biogas can be used for heat/electricity generation as well as transport. It should be noted that electricity generation from bioenergy resources offers the additional advantage of being dispatchable i.e. it is available on demand and not variable. Material such as animal by products and food waste, as well as municipal waste, have a value in being processed through, for example, anaerobic digestion, to produce biogas.

Ireland’s Renewable Energy Targets

Under the Renewable Energy Directive (also a component of the EU Climate and Energy Package 2008), Ireland is required to achieve 16% of its total final energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. The 16% target is broken down by category as follows:

Energy category % of TFC*

Added 23.06.17
Electricity 40%
Heat 12%
Transport 10%
*TFC is Total Final Consumption

Responsibility for ensuring that these targets are met is a matter for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) in the first instance. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine supports the development of the bioenergy sector, as agriculture and forest are the main source of material for bioenergy.

DCCAE Draft National Bioenergy Plan

Officials from DAFM have contributed to the development of the Draft Bioenergy Plan which was published by the then Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in October 2014. The draft Plan sets out the broader context for the development of Ireland’s bioenergy sector, and the current status with regard to the range of policy areas that must be coordinated in order to create the conditions necessary to support the development of this sector.

A Bioenergy Steering Group has been established in order to oversee the finalisation and implementation of the Bioenergy Plan, including the formulation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.

DAFM continues to work with DCCAE on the development of policies and measures related to increasing the supply of biomass for energy from our agriculture and forest sector.


Updated June 2017