Bord na Móna to announce bioenergy grower contracts
Bord na Móna is to announce long-term grower contracts for farmers to supply biomass crops for their electricity generating station in Edenderry, Co Offaly.
In a move which will provide the first major outlet for significant quantities of biomass products, the semi-state body is looking to contract hundreds of suppliers in north Leinster.
Under the Bio-energy Action Plan, 30pc of the peat used in the country's peat burning electricity plants at Lanesboro, Shannonbridge and Edenderry must be replaced by biomass sources over the coming years.
Possible replacement products include forestry thinnings, wood pellets or bio-energy crops such as miscanthus and willow.
It is estimated that 15,000ha of bio-energy crops would be required to supply the full 30pc co-firing requirement for Edenderry.
Details of the package being offered to land owners have yet to be finalised but it is expected the contracts will be launched at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, Co Kildare, in September.
A spokesman for Bord na Móna refused to comment on the grower contracts, except to say that the company was looking to dilute the amount of peat being harvested to supply the Edenderry plant. This was part of Bord na Móna's new "contract with nature" approach, he said.