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Energy Crops

Potentially the cultivation of energy crops can deliver positive outcomes in terms of reduced CO2 emissions, better energy security and extra sources of income/employment for rural communities.  To date, supports have focused on establishing the energy crops miscanthus and willow.

A pilot Bioenergy Scheme was launched in 2007 to support the planting of miscanthus and willow by giving farmers a grant up to a maximum of €1,450 per hectare to cover 50% of establishment costs. Grants were paid in two instalments,  75% following establishment of the crop and 25% in the year after establishment.  The pilot Scheme supported 364 farmers in the planting of some 2,500 hectares (2,100 miscanthus and 360 willow) to the end of 2009 for use as a renewable source of energy.

A new Bioenergy Scheme, co-funded by the EU under the Rural Development Programme, was launched in February 2010 to build on the progress made during the pilot phase.  Under this Scheme farmers receive a grant up to a maximum of €1,300 per hectare to cover 50% of establishment costs (reflecting the reduction in crop establishment costs since the launch of the Pilot Scheme).  In 2010 the Scheme facilitated the planting of up to 165 hectares of miscanthus and 188 hectares of willow.  

The Scheme for 2011 was launched in November 2010, with a closing date of 2nd February 2011.  Some 90 applications have been received under the 2011 Scheme to plant up to 1,000 hectares (660 willow and 337 miscanthus).

Details of the areas planted under the Bioenergy Scheme from 2007 - 2010 are contained in Table 9.3 below.