Category Archives: RTP Reports

Unlocking Ireland’s Biomass Potential – Opening Speech by AnneMarie O’Brien at Buswells, 15 March 2016

A question I get asked a lot is how did I become interested in this whole area of renewable energy in the first place – I suppose it really started a few years ago when we became aware that Eirgrid was proposing to build a line of massive pylons stretching from Dublin to Cork and part of that line was scheduled to go straight through our stud farm where Aidan and I breed and raise bloodstock.

Should such a project have been given the go-ahead it would have rendered that land totally unfit for the purposes for which it was being used. One then invariably starts to ask the questions – Why was such a large infrastructure project being considered? ….Was it something that was necessary? and … Were there any alternatives that should be given due consideration?

Click here to read the full opening speech

Unlocking Ireland’s biomass potential – converting Moneypoint by Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown, BW Energy: 15 March 2016

Deliver Ireland’s 2020 renewable electricity targets more cheaply than doubling onshore wind power:

  • – Only limited modifications required to existing plant.
  • – No change required to the Irish transmission system unlike doubling onshore wind that necessitates up to €3.5 billion transmission upgrade.
  • – No threat to rural heartland industries of bloodstock and tourism

Unlock Ireland’s major potential to supply cost competitive sustainable biomass.

Moneypoint’s biomass needs could be totally met by converting 8% of Irish agricultural land to energy crops.

Guarantee secure, long term demand for Irish biomass creating:

  • – More stable income for farmers and forestry.  Long term, fixed price contracts for energy crops and forestry offer more stable income than more volatile, traditional sectors.
  • – More positive investment in the Irish rural economy than more onshore wind which threatens bloodstock and tourism.
  • – A credible, economically effective strategy for Irish agriculture to fight climate change.

Click here to read the full report

A summary analysis of the Alex White interview by Malcolm Brown, BW Energy (Dec 2015)

Summary based on facts…

  1. Minister White has made the mistake of assuming that the next 20% of Irish power supply from onshore wind will cost the same as the first 20% and appears to have his cost data out by a factor of 1,000 in that interview.
  2. We need to work harder to get journalists to make the link between doubling onshore wind power and increased system costs above and beyond back up costs (specifically EirGrid’s €3.5 billion transmission upgrade plan). That is what makes converting Moneypoint to sustainable biomass a more attractive solution than yet more onshore wind  to meet the EU 2020 renewable power target as well as reducing carbon emissions in the Irish power sector in the most cost effective manner.

Click here to read the full report

REPORT: Dr Anthony White, BW Energy – Irelands Energy Crisis – What’s to be Done?

Dr Anthony White, BW Energy discusses Irelands Energy Crisis at The 35th Annual MacGill Summer School
Wednesday 22 July 2015

Ireland is still almost totally dependent on fossil fuels for its energy needs and most of it is imported at a cost of over €6 billion per annum. We import 100% of our oil supplies, 95% of our gas and all our coal. We are also importing electricity from the UK through an interconnector, produced by nuclear power, in spite of the fact that we appear to have set our minds against nuclear on our own soil. Increasing amounts of our oil and gas supplies will be produced by the fracking process which has in recent times made the US self-sufficient in oil and gas and which, it would seem, we have also rejected as a possible source of energy if not produced elsewhere. We, as a small island on the west of Europe without any indigenous source of energy are especially vulnerable and we have had an example of energy being used as a weapon when Russia turned off its oil supply to the Ukraine. With our almost total dependency on fossil fuels we are among the most exposed countries in the EU and furthermore will have difficulty in meeting our obligations under increasingly stringent international climate change legislation. Our EU commitments require us to generate 40% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020. We have made some progress but not nearly enough. Wind as a source of electricity was at 20% in 2013 but, as we know, there are several problems such as storage and sometimes sustained opposition to the required pylon networks. Ocean and wave of which we have in abundance is also a potential source of clean energy but little progress appears to have been made on that front. Ireland is vulnerable and we need a long-term, carefully considered strategy with implementation as a must. A government White Paper is due this autumn.

Click on the links below to read the report and view the presentation

Dr Anthony White – Report on Ireland’s Energy Crisis – What’s to be done? July 2015

Dr Anthony White – Presentation on Ireland’s Energy Crisis – What’s to be done? July 2015

Irish Wind Policy – Time to Rethink: Presentation by Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown, BW Energy (May 2015)

Executive Summary: Biomass can deliver Irish targets more effectively than wind

– Ireland has an ‘all wind’ strategy to meet EU 2020 renewable ‘green’ power targets.

– Requires doubling of current 200 wind farms (2,000 turbines) and over 700 km of high voltage transmission lines carried by industrial scale pylons in the countryside

– Doubling wind power directly threatens vital Irish heartland industries – tourism and equine.

– It is technically difficult, outdated and unnecessarily expensive.

– Fortunately technology today offers better solutions.

– Conversion of coal fired Moneypoint and peat power stations to sustainable biomass – re-engineering existing plant – is cheaper, requires no change to transmission infrastructure and no new power stations.

Click here to read the full report: BW Energy – Irish Wind Policy – Time to Rethink – May 2015

Decarbonisation economics and the benefits of biomass conversion at Moneypoint by Malcolm Brown, BW Energy

1) Key message:

Back in 2007 when they made the decision to go essentially with an ‘all wind’ strategy to meet EU 2020 renewable target of 16% of all energy production, Ireland chose a target of 40% of all electricity to be produced by renewables and essentially wind in 2020. In fact, this was the only choice on technical and financial grounds. As a consequence, renewables now (end 2012 being the latest official Irish data) produce 19.6% of all electricity and wind makes up three quarters of this component.

Click to read the full report: 24.4.15 Green economics and Moneypoint conversion benefits.


BW Energy Report 3 on behalf of ReThink Pylons – July 2014: Response to Irish Govt’s Consultation on May 2014 Green Paper on Irish Energy Policy

Press Release July 2014

The ReThink Pylons (RTP) Response to the Irish Government’s May 2014 Green Paper on Irish Energy Policy written by the BW Energy team, Dr. Anthony White and Malcolm Brown, July 2014.
In our statement on the launch of the Green paper just back in May, we in RTP called it a ‘cynical pre-election ploy to convince voters that the Government was working to rationalise Ireland’s skewed energy policy, because this was a strategy document for a policy the government was actually halfway through implementing’! It was a 2007 policy attempting to catch up with an All Wind government policy, which was good for its time then, but is now completely wrong for Ireland at this juncture, and there are far better and cheaper alternatives readily available to the nation now.
However, in our positive Response to the Green Paper, we show clearly the major changes that have dramatically altered Ireland’s energy landscape since the 2007 Irish Energy Policy Framework, and demonstrate why Biomass and Residential Solar PV are genuine alternatives, and we would claim, far better alternatives for Ireland NOW, and we show why.

Click here to read the full press release: RTP response to the Irish Government’s May 2014 Green Paper on Irish Energy Policy

To view the report, click on the link below: BW Energy Report 3 – Green Paper Response -July 2014



BW Energy Report 2 on behalf of Rethink Pylons – March 2014: Review of the Irish Govt’s Strategy for Compliance with European Directive 2009/28 and Press Release

Press Release

4 March  2014

Conversion of Ireland’s largest power station to biomass is a low cost alternative to Grid25 that would make it possible to meet Irish renewable energy targets at a single stroke – while protecting Irish jobs and safeguarding countryside from pylon blight, expert report concludes.

The report, by consultants Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown of BW Energy, concludes that co-firing of biomass with coal or complete conversion to biomass at Ireland’s existing power plants would enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy commitments cost-effectively, and make the Grid25 upgrade unnecessary.

“There have been important technological advances in boiler design and a scaling up of the international biomass market in the years since Ireland made the costly decision to rely so heavily on wind power to meet its renewable targets,” said Malcolm Brown “Biomass now represents a real alternative’.

The report, Review of the Irish Government’s Strategy for Compliance with the European Directive 2009/28, is released today by ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation working to stimulate a rethink of Irish energy policy, including Grid25.

Click here to read the full press release: BW Energy Press Release – March 2014

Click here to read the full report: BW Energy Report 2 – Final Mar14

BW Energy Report 1 on behalf of Rethink Pylons – January 2014: Evaluation of Grid Link Project Stage 1 Report: Sept 2013 and Press Release

An expert report concludes that the case for Grid25, based on a need to upgrade the transmission system to accommodate additional wind generation and to allow exports via interconnectors, is without sound foundation.  

The report, by consultants Malcolm Brown and Dr Anthony White of BW Energy has been shared with ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation working to stimulate a rethink of Irish energy policy, including Grid25. Grid25, the planned upgrade to the Irish electrical grid, would crisscross the country with hundreds of pylons carrying over a thousand kilometres of high-voltage overhead line.

Click here to read the full press release: BW Energy Press Release February 2014

To view the Report, click on the link here: BW Energy – Evaluation of September 2013 Grid Link Project (Stage 1 Report)