I was so depressed writing the last Blog - I just had to get into this one to break the state of mind.
Wind farms are sprouting up all over Ireland, and it is great to see this trend towards clean renewable energy. However wind farms while great, only produce electricity. Biomass for power generation will additionally produce lots of jobs and improve the countryside.
I don't know if the 'powers that be' actually take the time to consider the additional benefits of Biomass when calculating the investment. It is true to say that, watt for watt, biomass energy is dearer than oil or gas, even at today high prices. But with gas or oil we are sending our money away from the country, and the money provides no investment, no jobs and no sustainability.
Growing Jobs as well as Power
If we switched to biomass energy, for a modest increase in price per watt of power, we would generate thousands of long-term 100% sustainable jobs, improve the environment, and beautify the countryside into the bargain. In addition to burning biomass to generate electricity, it can also be used to produce methanol, which can be used to run cars etc. Additionally some forms of biomass, especially hemp can be effectively used to produce methane gas.
We need to make the decisions NOW. In a few years the energy crisis will be fully upon us and it will be difficult if not impossible to achieve much then.
1. Many thousands of acres put to biomass production. Needs lots of Government incentives.
2. Localised cropping, processing and storage facilities. Again it won't happen without the BIG plan and incentives.
3. Lots of locally sited small electricity generating units, which will produce almost no pollution and can be made to look OK in urban settings. Won't happen if left up the outdated dinosaur the ESB!