Bookmark and Share
21/01/2009

Alternative Fuel Boosted

News Image

Hard-pressed Northern Ireland home and business owners are turning to biomass fuel grown on local farms for a clean, green source of competitively priced energy.

Already over 50 willow growers province wide supply biomass energy to colleges, leisure centres, commercial and domestic premises.

Earlier this week, at the inaugural meeting of Biomass Energy Northern Ireland, (BENI), formed by farmers to promote the production and utilisation of biomass energy James Leslie of Ballymoney was elected the fledgling organisation's Chairperson.

"Through BENI growers aim to instil confidence in potential customers that we have made a very long-term commitment to growing willows as a secure source of biomass fuel," James affirmed.

"Willows are first coppiced three years after planting and two or three yearly thereafter for at least 20 years. It is an expensive crop to establish so farmers have to make a major investment, an investment already yielding dividends for growers and their customers," he explained.

"Growing willows is boosting our local economy as farmers gain an alternative enterprise outside food production and customers access a secure energy supply at a stable cost," he continued.

"Other forms of biomass such as forestry and its wastes may also be available and alternative sources such as fast-growing hardwoods and miscanthus are being evaluated."

Hosted by retailer IKEA Belfast the BENI meeting included a tour of the 1.2 MW Giles biomass boiler, fuelled by locally produced woodchips, heating the iconic store at Holywood Exchange.

Geoffrey Knipe, IKEA's NI facilities manager, said their Belfast biomass boiler had cut energy costs by £60,000 in a year.

"IKEA is committed to biomass energy not only for long-term cost savings, but to help address concerns about security of energy supplies and as a means of combating global climate change," he said.

"Using woodchips produced within a few miles of our store also allows IKEA to put money back into the Northern Ireland economy," he insisted.

Others using biomass energy include Cookstown Leisure Centre, Omagh FE College and the Woodbrook district heating scheme for 300 new homes in Brokerstown village at Lisburn.

(BMcC/JM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 April 2003
Derry company receive £750k funding package
B9 Energy Biomass, a company developing leading-edge technology aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, is to plough in £750,000 into its business thanks to a government funding package.
02 March 2016
Energy Firm Announces 10% Price Cut
Energy firm Electric Ireland has announced a 10% price cut. The firm is to reduce its electricity prices for customers from 21 March. Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell, welcomed the news. Minister Bell said: "I welcome the tariff announcement which is good news for Electric Ireland residential customers.
19 February 2016
Almost £140,000 To Be Invested In Housing Upgrades
The NI Housing Executive has invested £137,000 into housing upgrades in Newtownabbey. Building contractor Dixons has upgraded 89 homes in the Old Mossley area. Works involved installing double glazing windows at the properties, making them more energy efficient.
25 July 2001
B9 Energy plans to provide 200 new jobs
A Londonderry company set up six years ago to promote the use of renewable energy has announced that it has become so successful it plans to provide 200 new jobs. Debra Jenkins, managing director of B9 Energy Biomass, which is based at the Northland Road Industrial Estate, said that it is currently talking to Ledu about its expansion plans.
08 March 2013
O'Neill Welcomes Interest In EU Biomass Fund
Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has said she is encouraged by the level of interest shown in the re-opening of the EU co-financed Biomass Processing Challenge Fund. The Biomass Processing Challenge Fund (BPCF) encourages agricultural and forestry businesses to install biomass fuelled technologies to aid agricultural activities at farm level.
10 December 2010
Biomass Heating Boost For Glencraig
Construction has commenced on a development to enhance a successful Co Down community serving those with learning disabilities.
06 November 2008
Other NI News In Brief
Rates Deal To Help Pensioners A rates deferment scheme for pensioners is to be introduced in Northern Ireland, the Finance Minister has said. The move is a result of last year's Executive review of rating, and will enable home owning pensioners to defer their rate payments.
26 February 2016
Other News In Brief
NIHE Extends Contract With Bryson Energy Bryson Energy has been awarded a contract extension to offer NI householders free energy advice. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is to invest £129,000 in the Bryson Energy Advice line based in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. The contract is to be extended for another year.
11 December 2015
Construction Work To Extend Gas Network In East Down To Begin Next Year
Construction work to extend the gas network into East Down in Northern Ireland is to begin next year. The Utility Regulator approved the extension of Phoenix Natural Gas' gas conveyance licence to the area. Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell welcomed the decision.
30 June 2004
Minister reveals Strategic Energy Framework for NI
Enterprise Minister Barry Gardiner has announced a new Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland. The framework builds on existing achievements and sets the energy agenda, including key priorities and principles, for developments in the energy sector in the coming years.
05 April 2016
Gaelectric To Officially Open Wind Farm In Co L'Derry
Energy firm Gaelectric is to officially open its £16.8 million wind farm at Monnaboy on Loughermore Mountain in L'Derry today, 05 April. The company is progressing through a programme to construct and commission a near term portfolio of approximately 400MWs of consented wind energy projects on the island of Ireland by 2017.
11 February 2013
NI Energy Bill Approved
The Executive has approved the new Northern Ireland Energy Bill. The Bill will help the Executive with its aim to create a sustainable energy system which relies on more renewable energy sources.
19 February 2008
Local Interest In Welsh Green Energy 'Map'
In a move that will be closely watched by supporters of environmentally friendly energy on both sides of the Irish Sea, proposals for making Wales self-sufficient in renewable energy within 20 years are being launched today by the Welsh Assembly Government.
03 November 2005
£50m fund will make NI European energy 'leader'
The new £50 million ‘Energy and Environment Fund’ will make Northern Ireland a European leader in the development and use of clean, renewable energy forms.
12 April 2013
Sustainable Energy Report Launched
A new report into the economic benefits of sustainable energy technology in Northern Ireland has been launched. The MATRIX Horizon Panel report into Sustainable Energy identifies the capability of the Sustainable Energy technology sector in Northern Ireland and opportunities for local companies to exploit.