The Bioenergy Scheme 2015 provides establishment grants to farmers to grow willow for the production of biomass suitable for use as a renewable source of energy. The Scheme aims to increase the production of willow in Ireland and to encourage alternative land use options. It is open to applicants who are landowners or have leasehold title to the land and have responsibility for farming the land on which it is proposed to carry out the plantation. Commonage shares, rented lands and grazing rights are not eligible for payment under the Scheme.
Aid is payable on 40% of the approved costs associated with establishing the crop, subject to a maximum payment rate of €1,040 per hectare, with the balance to be invested by the applicant. Eligible costs include those associated with ground preparation, fencing, vegetation control, the purchase of planting stock and planting.
Areas planted with willow also qualify for the Basic Payment Scheme and payments under the REPS Scheme, subject to some restrictions on the areas planted.
- Applications for establishment grants are subject to a pre-planting approval process;
- Applications will be prioritised having regard to the Selection Criteria set out in the Scheme’s Terms and Conditions;
- The minimum allowable area per applicant is 3 hectares and the maximum is 50 hectares;
- Applicants must submit evidence of linkages with end-users to use the biomass crop as a source of bioenergy;
- Items invoiced, delivered or purchased, and payments made, prior to the issue of Pre-Planting approval are not eligible for grant aid;
Applications for pre-planting approval should be submitted to Bioenergy (Willow) Scheme 2015, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, On-Farm Investments Division, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford. Telephone: 053 9165504
Scientists have recently identified willow trees that yield five times as much sugar as ordinary varieties “drastically reducing” the potential conversion costs of associated biofuels.