REFIT awaits Cabinet call
Published 23/11/2011 | 06:00
Cabinet approval will be the final hurdle to be crossed before the REFIT scheme for biomass crops can be implemented.
If approved, the legislation will allow at least 27 biomass projects to get off the ground.
The projects account for a combined capacity of 56MW of electricity and would be enough to power 10,000 homes.
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IRBEA) has estimated that more than 200 jobs would be created in the construction and operation of the 27 plants.
Around half of the projects in the pipeline are biogas digesters using farm waste or food manufacturing waste, while the rest are related to using wood fuel, straw or energy crops, such as miscanthus, to generate renewable power and heat.
The legislation would also open the door for a major increase in demand for farmers to grow miscanthus and willow for combined heat and power (CHP) plants and anaerobic digesters (ADs).
Limerick-based company JHM Crops claimed the implementation of the REFIT scheme could result in a trebling of its demand for miscanthus crops within five years.
JHM's Joe Hogan said REFIT would increase the area of miscanthus grown on contract from its current level of 4,000ac to 12,000ac within five years once the scheme was implemented.