Waterford-based wood energy specialists, Natural Power Supply, says start-up companies need access to a special department within Enterprise Ireland if they are to take advantage of a new €200 million fund for energy-related research and development.

 Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced the fund as he addressed the Energy Forum 2008 in Dublin. Attending the Forum were over 400 key players in the energy industry in Ireland, Ferrybank-based NPS among them.

NPS managing director and shareholder, James Kennedy, described the fund as a very positive step in the right direction. But he said new businesses needed access to the right information if they were to tap into the fund and achieve real results for Ireland.

He argued: “There is a need for Enterprise Ireland to have a special department which would focus on helping start-up companies bidding for part of this funding. They need such help, advice and counsel if they are to be supported and enabled to grow and take advantage of this new opportunity.

“The government is really committed to making a change and this fund indicates it is willing to put money behind its policies. But we must be able to unravel potential red tape if we are to allow industry access to this finance and actually have change “, Mr Kennedy said.

Hosted by Energy Minister Eamon Ryan, the Forum was addressed by Ministers Gormley, Martin, Coughlan, and Dempsey as well as Ministers of State Wallace and McGuinness.

The Forum, the first of its kind in Ireland, set the issues of energy security and climate change at the heart of Government policy and prioritisation. Its aim was for Government to interact with the industry in order for Ireland to become a world leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Achieving these twin aims should ensure Ireland’s continued economic competitiveness, create the jobs of the future and fulfil our climate change targets.

NPS helps its customers choose a heating system which best meets their needs. It helps with grant applications; assists farmers grow fuel; has a network of distribution depots across the country; and has a policy of distributing only within a 30 mile radius of fuel sources – further reducing its carbon footprint.

NPS has supplied biomass boilers nationwide – with such customers in the south-east alone as the Brandon House Hotel, Dunbrody Country House, Teagasc Oakpark, Cope Foundation and Kilkenny College.