Midlands farmers targeted in push to grow 5,000ha of bioenergy crops
Bord na Mona is pressing ahead with plans to secure contracts for 5,000ha of willow and other biomass crops with landowners in the midlands.
Speaking at a one-day Energy Crop Information and Demonstration event at Teagasc Oakpark, Carlow, on Friday, John O'Halloran of Bord na Mona said the company was encouraged by the reaction of farmers to the contract offers.
The 2007 White Paper on sustainable energy stipulated that the peat burning power station at Edenderry, Co Offaly, must burn 30pc biomass as a co-fuel by 2020.
Lough Ree Power at Lanesboro, Co Longford, and West Offaly Power at Shannonbridge, Co Offaly, are expected to be brought under the regulation at a later stage.
To meet these targets Bord na Mona is actively seeking new biomass producers. The company will co-fund and provide technical support for growers to produce willow, miscanthus or black oats, Mr O'Halloran said.
The crops can be supplied by producer groups, co-ops or individual farmers.
Under the Bord na Mona package for willow, the company will match the Government's 50pc establishment payment for the first 200ha planted.
A transport payment for delivered crop will be approximately €10/t for farmers located within a 25km radius of the Edenderry plant, while farmers located over 25km from the power station will receive €11.50/t.