Security of Energy Supply
Ireland imports most of the fuel it needs for electricity generation. Natural gas has grown to become the dominant fuel in Irish electricity generation, accounting for 57% of electricity generated in 2009. Government energy policy recognises that over-reliance on one source of imported energy could pose a risk to the security of our energy supply.
The use of indigenous fuels, such as peat, enhances our fuel diversity and reinforces the security of Irish energy supply. Indigenous fuels also have a positive impact on Ireland’s balance of payments – displacing imported fuels with locally produced energy. The importance of peat as an indigenous fuel is best viewed in the context of Ireland’s total primary energy requirement, including the transport sector and the requirement for thermal energy.
Between 1990 and 2009, Ireland’s dependency on imported fuel to meet its total energy requirements grew from 68% to 88.6%. Of our indigenous fuels, peat (including milled peat, sod turf and peat briquettes) accounted for 38% of the energy supplied in 2009.
Peatlands in Ireland
Peatlands cover 1.03 million hectares of the Republic of Ireland.
Bord na Móna owns 77,000 hectares of peatlands, or 7.5% of the peatlands of the Republic of Ireland.
Raised bogs are characteristic of the Irish Midlands and once covered over 310,000 hectares of the Republic of Ireland.
The area on which Bord na Móna is actively harvesting peat is approximately 25,000 hectares, or 8% of the area once classified as raised bogs.
Approximately 18,400 hectares of raised bogs are included within Special Areas of Conservation and Natural Heritage Areas.
|Area covered||% of total peatlands|
|Ireland’s total peatland||1,300,000 hectares||100%|
|Bord na Móna’s total peatland||77,000 hectares||7.5%|
|Area covered||% of total raised bogs|
|Ireland’s total raised bogs||310,000 hectares||100%|
|Bord na Móna’s raised bogs||67,600 hectares||20%|
|Raised bogs currently in production by Bord na Móna||25,000 hectares||8%|
Under our New Contract with Nature, Bord na Móna has given a commitment not to develop any new bogs for peat production. Bord na Móna recognises that it has a responsibility in managing its bogs into the future and that potentially large areas of former peat production bogs will revert to biodiversity-rich systems. Learn more about Bord na Móna’s biodiversity activities.
Did you know?
- Bord na Móna’s narrow gauge railway consists of over 700km of permanent track and 140km of temporary track for transporting milled peat to our customers
- The harvested milled peat is stored on the bogs in long linear stockpile with a total length of over 1,400Km
- Bord na Móna’s railway rolling stock includes over 200 locomotives and over 1,600 wagons
- Undrained peat is 95% water and 5% solids. Milk is 88% water
- Freshly milled peat has a moisture content of about 80%. Solar energy (sun and wind) is utilised to dry the peat down to 45-55% moisture content for harvesting
- Feedstock has peat operations in 9 of the 26 counties, from Kildare in the East to Galway in the West; from Roscommon in the North to Tipperary in the South
- The economic activity driven by Bord na Móna Feedstock makes a significant contribution to the creation of wealth in the Border Midland and Western Region, a region with the lowest per capita income, and highest rates of unemployment in the country
- We employed 1,100 permanent and seasonal employees at peak in 2010
Learn more about Peat Harvesting.
The peat resources used by Bord na Móna are finite. Bord na Móna has not acquired any new bogs in the last 20 years. The drainage and development which brought most of Bord na Móna’s existing bogs into peat production was carried out 30 to 50 years ago. If you would like to know more about the life cycle of a production bog, why not read our case study?