Annual Report 2016

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Business Reviews

Biomass

We have identified Biomass supply as a strategic requirement in the transition away from peat based energy supply. This is driven by the need to complete the transition of the Edenderry power plant to qualify for REFiT 2 following the end of Public Service Obligation (“PSO”) support in December 2015. In 2019 the ESB plants, Lough Ree Power and West Offaly Power, will also exit the current PSO regime. Their future viability will depend to a large extent on Bord na Móna’s supplying required volumes of suitable quality biomass on a cost effective basis. Biomass will also be an essential component of products within our Fuels and Horticulture businesses as we develop and commercialise more environmentally friendly products.

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330k tonnes purchased
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Co–firing rate 28.7%
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FY16 at a glance

In 2015, the Biomass division was established as a separate business unit with its own management and operating structure, thereby ensuring the appropriate focus on this vitally important business.

Key areas of focus during the year were:

Development of the biomass supply chain in Ireland;


Identification of new international sources of biomass (including potential sustainable sources of wood chip in Africa); and,


Exploring options for investment in a wood pellet manufacturing facility in the United States.

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Outlook

Our future requirement for biomass is likely to be in excess of 1.5 million tonnes per annum. Developing a reliable and cost effective supply chain is a significant challenge and will involve a combination of Irish and international sources:

  • An Irish supply chain including: sawmill residues, willow from local growers and pulpwood logs mainly supplied by Coillte;
  • Working with the farming community and Government agencies to develop a willow growing industry. This will require appropriate Government support mechanisms and a well-structured programme to promote the opportunity. Bord na Móna is committed to leading this initiative
  • Sustainable international sources with an emphasis on woodchip from Africa; and,
  • Investment by Bord na Móna in wood pellet manufacturing in the U.S is likely to be necessary to ensure long-term security of supply on a cost-effective basis. Our analysis suggests that the South Eastern states in the United States are probably the optimum location due to the extensive availability of wood in the locality.

We believe that our strategy presents a unique and exciting growth opportunity for Bord na Móna to become the leader in the biomass sector in Ireland, while helping achieve Government policy in relation to renewable energy.

Patrick Madigan, Head of Biomass