Market certainty a key issue
For farmers wishing to switch from conventional farming to producing energy crops and generating heat and power from farm waste, one of the key difficulties is a guarantee of a market for the fuel or the power.
According to John Gilliland, a key contribution to market stability would be made by the development of a public procurement policy that would favour bioenergy sources.
Mr Gilliland claims this would make economic, environmental and economic sense.
"Currently €600m per year is spent in heating Irish public buildings using imported fossil fuels," he claimed.
"Up to €200m per year could be saved if procurement switched to Irish bioenergy."
One of the big challenges faced by the country at the moment is to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions and renewable targets for 2020. Many speakers argued while these targets are challenging, they will be rendered impossible without a positive public procurement policy.
Tom Bruton praised the ESB for its procurement policy in relation to biofuels while he claimed that CIE, a major public fuel user, had much to do in this regard.