Biomass crop exports to English plant will cost Irish taxpayers €4m, claims merchant

Energy crop miscanthus
Energy crop miscanthus

The sale of 10,000 tonnes of miscanthus to buyers in the east of England will cost Irish taxpayers €4m, it has been claimed.

Paddy O'Toole of Quinns of Baltinglass said the Wicklow-based merchants is currently transporting the biomass crop from stores across the south-east.

The miscanthus was purchased from Quinns by BWSC Northern Fuels Ltd and will be used in the Brigg Renewable Energy Plant in North Lincolnshire.

Ten trucks are employed in moving the 8x4x3 bales of miscanthus to the plant, which takes in 250,000t of biomass each year.

Mr O'Toole described the absence of a major Irish outlet for the miscanthus - sown with the aid of planting grants - as a "disgrace".

He maintained that each tonne of miscanthus which is being shipped to Britain would save Ireland €400 in EU renewable energy fines which will be levied from 2020.

Mr O'Toole said the 10,000t of miscanthus would offset €4m in fines had an outlet been found for the crop in Ireland.

It is estimated that Ireland will be faced with fines of between €250m and €350m for failing to meet its obligatory targets for renewable energy usage in the area of heat generation and transport by 2020.

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Mr O'Toole said the incentives under the Government's current RHI scheme were too conservative and would not encourage widespread conversion to biomass fuels.

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