Woodchips could create hundreds of jobs

Generating energy from woodchips could potentially create hundreds of new jobs in Ireland by 2020, according to the County Clare Wood Energy Project.

At a seminar hosted by the organisation, delegates heard that research suggests more than 170 jobs could be created in County Clare alone over the next 10-12 years.

The industry is also expected to contribute nearly Euro 10m to the Clare economy by 2020 if it meet’s the 95MW government target for biomass heat production.

The county is now leading the way in Ireland in developing the wood energy market, as more than 15% of the county is forests.

Doirin Graham, chief executive of the CCWEP, told delegates: “Local jobs, based on our own natural resources, will give us a more self-sufficient local economy.”

She added: “People are waiting to make a decision about changing over to wood energy, but the fact of the matter is that wood energy has already arrived in Clare.

“People now need to take the step from interest into action.

“Wood chip heating, which is readily available in Clare, is by far the cheapest renewable energy technology to install per kilowatt.”

On average, wood chip fuel is 50% of the price of heating oil, meaning that savings can be significant for large heat users, but also emits far less CO2.

Mary Ryan, joint manager of the CCWEP, said: “Wood fuel heating emits the least CO2 per unit of energy supplied of any energy technology.

“This will no doubt be a contributory factor to the growth of the sector, as reducing our carbon footprint is becoming an important strategic goal for the commercial, industrial and public sectors.”

The seminar also saw the launch of the Wood Boiler Installation Guidelines by Mary Wallace, minister at the Department of Agriculture.

Delegates could also take advantage of visits to thinning, chipping and boiler sites in the county.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie