Green procurement policy garners a mixed reaction
There has been a mixed reaction to the Government's new "green" procurement policy for the public sector.
The policy has been slated by some bioenergy groups, who say it is full of aspiration but lacks substance.
The 'Green Tenders' action plan is aimed at making the Government's €14bn annual spend on goods, services and works more resource-efficient and less polluting.
The plan has been welcomed by some in the bioenergy sector, including Quinns of Baltinglass and Farrelly Brothers, who say the public sector could lead the way in creating local markets for bioenergy crops.
But the Irish Bioenergy Association (IRBEA) said the plan fell short of demonstrating how the public sector was going to play its role in meeting Ireland's renewable energy targets.
"We have a national biofuel target of 10pc displacement of fossil fuel by 2020 for example, but there is no commitment in this action plan for CIE to meet or exceed this requirement," said IRBEA president Tom Bruton.
"There is an aspiration and notional commitment to supply heat and power to buildings from green sources, but in the absence of targets it will be very difficult for local authority managers to decide to prioritise green energy purchase from local suppliers."
Despite an estimated annual government bill of €200m per year on imported oil for heating public buildings, the Green Tenders policy did not include any targets for converting heating systems to biomass.