Government targets for renewable energy are
- 44% of electrical consumption from renewables by 2020
- 12% renewable heat by 2020
- 30% co-firing with biomass at the 3 peat power stations by 2015
- 800 MW of combined heat and power by 2020
- 10% transport biofuels by 2020
The Republic of Ireland currently imports c. 89% of its total energy requirements. Energy demand is increasing by c.5% per annum. Wood as an indigenous energy source can contribute significantly to; reducing our import dependence, improving our trade balance and reversing the decline in indigenous energy production of 56% since 1990.
These targets are already having an effect on the supply – demand balance of roundwood in Ireland. Demand for forestry biomass is already exceeding supply. The Coford roundwood supply and demand forecast, predicts a deficit of almost 2 million M3 by 2020 with demand far outstripping supply.
- To meet government targets by 2020 a biomass supply of 2.7 million green tones per annum will be required. Total harvest from Irish forests was 2.3 million M3 on 2008
Wood fuels are mainly sourced from young forests. If afforestation levels are not increased and maintained at 15,000 ha per annum plus then wood fuel supply will not be sustainable in the long term.