The success of Green Biofuels Ireland in New Ross is being held up as an example of how a proposed bioethanol plant at Belview Port would be a ‘win-win’ for the local economy, agriculture and the environment.
A site at Waterford Port is earmarked for just such an industry in the Ferrybank-Belview Local Area Plan published by Kilkenny County Council in November 2008.
Earlier that year Sustainable Industries Ireland signalled its intention to secure sites for bio-refineries in Carlow and at Belview.
Under the mineral oil tax relief scheme there are 18 companies in the EU able to facilitate production of bio-fuels. A large number of them have gone into production and five have Irish plants either operational or the pipeline.
Minister for Natural Resources Eamon Ryan says the New Ross operation, which employs 23, “is an excellent example of how we can produce bio-fuels from waste. It is a perfect win-win solution. It solves a waste problem and is assisting employment in an area where we have had difficulties.”
Senator Joe O’Toole (Ind) says this type of industry is all positive. “It increases tax revenue to the State, is a boost for the agricultural industry, leads to carbon dioxin capture and therefore reduces our need to offset or invest more money in offsetting.”
He’s totally in favour of such processing facilities, “including the one in Waterford-Kilkenny. The arguments against it do not stand up”, he says.
The Belview plant would utilise the availability close-by of sugar beet that was previously processed in Carlow – an opportunity identified by the Greens deputy leader and new Junior Minister Mary White as soon as the Irish Sugar plant shut.