Environmentalists are challenging the use of biomass to fuel Irish power plants including Lough Ree Power in Lanesboro beyond 2025.
Plaintiffs from different countries including Ireland say the European Union’s inclusion of forest biomass as a renewable fuel fatally undermines the goals of the new European Renewable Energy Directive [RED II].
According to Bord na Mona’s 2016 Annual Report, wood pellets from forests and pine plantations in the Southern US are the most likely biomass source for any industrial scale co-firing and future power station conversions in Ireland,
The Dogwood Alliance. one of more than 30 conservation and environmental justice organizations in the Southern United States, say their coastal hardwood forests are at the heart of the world’s 36th biodiversity hotspot and are being felled with no legal obligation to replant.
Environmentalists say that European Energy Directive II also fails to properly account for the lifecycle carbon emissions from harvesting, producing, transporting, and burning woody biomass fuels, including the loss of carbon sequestration potential after the vast increase in industrial logging, destroys the very forest systems that have until now absorbed carbon from the atmosphere.
Plaintiffs from the US, Romania, Estonia, France, Slovakia and Ireland have launched a challenge to inclusion of forest biomass in RED II to the General European Court in Luxembourg. Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment is included in the action – he says the whole life cycle of this fuel is more damaging than burning coal.