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Gildernew announces renewable energy forum for agricultural stakeholders

6 October, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA, has announced the establishment of an Agricultural Stakeholder Forum on Renewable Energy.

The forum is tasked with reviewing and updating the Renewable Energy Action Plan published by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in January 2007. The Action Plan focused on realising the opportunities that renewable energy has to offer the agricultural sector. At its first meeting, the forum considered its terms of reference and the work programme required to enable it to produce a final report and recommendations by June 2009.

Discussing the forum's work, the Minister commented:

"This new group brings together key figures with interests in the local renewable energy sector. I appreciate their willingness to pool their expertise to review the existing DARD action plan and prepare a new short to medium term strategy specific to the agricultural sector.

"The adoption of renewable energy technologies within the agricultural sector is clearly an area which requires further development and this forum will help us establish key objectives, targets and timeframes. The forum's report will focus on key opportunities, supply chain issues, innovation and technology transfer, market development, sustainability, capability development and potential delivery agents. I wish the forum every success and look forward to its' final report." ENDS

The forum is chaired by Pearse Buckley of Sustainable Energy Ireland and is made up of six senior industry representatives and three observers representing DARD, DETI and DOE.

Note to Editors

1. The Industry Representatives are:

• Michael Doran, Rural Generation
• Lord James Hamilton, Confederation of Forestry Industries
• Colin Smyth, Ulster Farmers' Union
• Dr Andy McCrea, Action Renewables
• Dr Sinclair Mayne, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
• Sean Bryne, Frontier Energy

2. The DARD Renewable Energy Action Plan is available at

3. Pearse Buckley graduated from University College Dublin in 1975 with a BE Mechanical degree. After working for 13 years in Canada as a product engineer, he returned to Ireland in 1991 and began research in energy from biomass at Trinity College Dublin. From 1998, he worked for four years with a waste management company before joining Sustainable Energy Ireland in August 2002 as Project Manager - Biomass. In this role he is responsible for the promotion of bioenergy through strategy development and for providing policy advice.

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