Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Third Report of the Citizens' Assembly: Engagement with Ms Marie Donnelly
Ms Marie Donnelly:
One thing we have in Ireland is land - fertile land, relatively speaking, some land more so than other land. There is an opportunity to use our land more effectively. We can use it for agriculture, and, of course, that feeds people, which is very important, but some of it we can use as an alternative to imported fuel, and yes, we should be doing that more. There is a lot of research that shows the benefits of, for example, special kinds of grasses and rapid turnaround on the crop. We have a particularly suitable climate for this. There are other energy crops that we could be growing as well. Växjö in Sweden, for example, is a small city by that country's standards. The city is run on bioenergy generated by farmers in the vicinity. It is a combination of biomass and bioenergy. They have done this for the past 15 years. They set it up and said they would make their economy independent in terms of energy and do so with the farmers in the vicinity around them. There are opportunities there. It requires bringing together a number of the actors in order that one can put the structures in place to make it happen.