Industry figures blast new Bioenergy Scheme
Industry representatives have slammed the relaunched Department of Agriculture Bioenergy Scheme as not doing enough to support the sector.
The new phase of the scheme, which runs for three years, limits the maximum production area per applicant to 30ha.
The scheme, which is co-funded by the EU, allows for an establishment grant of up to 50pc for the growing of willow and miscanthus.
However, those active in the industry claim it doesn't go far enough to support the sector, which has been described as "the greatest opportunity in farming for decades".
Joe Hogan of JHM Crops Ltd in Adare, Co Limerick, told a Teagasc bioenergy conference in Carlow that he could offer seven-year contracts to growers or even longer if it were needed.
Under the new scheme, growers have to prove they have secured an end use contract for their product.
"There is not enough miscanthus in Ireland for its current uses not to mind the proposed uses for it," Mr Hogan said.
Raymond O'Neill of Waterford-based Natural Power Supply Ltd, which specialises in the sale of pellet and woodchip boilers, said Ireland's potential for growing willow was not being exploited fully.