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Minister Coughlan welcomes new Excise Relief Scheme as major boost for biofuel production

Mary Coughlan T.D., Minister for Agriculture and Food today welcomed the announcement by her Cabinet colleague Noel Dempsey T.D., Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources that 16 biofuel projects are to be granted excise relief under the €200m Mineral excise relief programme.

The Minister said she was confident that farmers would respond positively to demand for feedstock arising from these new projects and expressed the hope that the Excise relief scheme would result in supply contracts for Irish farmers. "I believe that this is an opportunity to capitalize on the use of indigenous feedstocks and contribute to the development of an energy crop growing sector in Ireland. The scheme represents a significant investment by the Irish taxpayer and it is important we avail of this opportunity to support the tillage sector and the wider agricultural economy".

Concluding, the Minister said she is working closely with her colleagues in Government through the Ministerial Taskforce on Bio-energy to ensure farmers benefit significantly from the development of the renewable energy sector. The Taskforce will prepare a comprehensive national Bio-Energy Action Plan by end 2006 to develop Ireland's bio-energy resources to 2020.

23 November, 2006

Note for Editors

This follows an announcement by Government in the last budget of a new five-year biofuels excise relief package aimed at achieving 2% biofuel penetration by 2008. The scheme aims to reduce CO2 emissions and increase market penetration of biofuels in Ireland in accordance with Directive 2003/30/EC to promote the use of biofuels for transport. The excise relief will encourage the production and sale of biofuels across four categories, namely, biodiesel, bioethanol, pure plant oil and biofuels used in captive fleets.

Date Released: 23 November 2006