Bord na Mona pushes willow deal
Bord na Mona has said that it would be disappointed if its first 200ha slice of willow contracts was not oversubscribed by farmers.
The company is offering guaranteed prices for 20-year growing contracts with farmers close to its Edenderry power plant in Co Offaly.
If a farmer chooses to pay his own establishment costs, he will receive a price per tonne of €32.50/t, at 55pc moisture, said John O'Hallorna, from Bord na Mona.
Where a farmer chooses to take funding from Bord na Mona for establishing a crop, he will receive a payment closer to €38/t.
The willow price will be index-linked upwards only.
A payment for delivery will be approximately €10/t for farmers located within a 25km radius of the Edenderry plant, while farmers located over 25km from the plant will receive €11.50/t.
"From average expected yields of willow of four dry tonnes per acre per year, the farmer can expect a net return of €160 per acre/per year," said Mr O'Halloran. Some 25 potential growers have attended the first open day at the Edenderry plant, while two more open days are planned for the forthcoming weeks.
Bord na Mona has set a target of 5,000ha of willow growing by 2015, which will eventually produce 100,000t of biomass for burning.