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The economic viability of biomass crops versus conventional agricultural systems and its potential impact on farm incomes in Ireland


  • Clancy, Daragh
  • Breen, James P.
  • Butler, Anne Marie
  • Thorne, Fiona S.


Ireland is currently importing 90 percent of its energy. The burning of domestically produced nonrenewable peat provides 4.9 percent of Ireland’s total primary energy supply while renewable biomass crops currently account for only 1 percent of the domestically produced energy supply. The Irish government have set a target of 30% of peat (approximately 0.9 million tonnes) used for electricity generation to be replaced by renewable energy crops. This would be equivalent to approximately 0.6 million tonnes of biomass crops or approximately 45,000 hectares of biomass. Direct payments and subsidies accounted for over 100 percent of average family farm income on beef and sheep farms in 2006. Therefore there appears to be significant potential for Irish farmers to replace conventional agricultural enterprises with biomass crops. A probit model was built to identify the socio-economic characteristics of farmers who may be willing to adopt energy crop production. The results from this were used in the construction of a linear programming model to determine the optimal enterprise for each farmer at varying energy prices.

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  • Clancy, Daragh & Breen, James P. & Butler, Anne Marie & Thorne, Fiona S., 2008. "The economic viability of biomass crops versus conventional agricultural systems and its potential impact on farm incomes in Ireland," 107th Seminar, January 30-February 1, 2008, Sevilla, Spain 6485, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa107:6485

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    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/2840 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Treguer, David & Sourie, Jean-Claude & Rozakis, Stelios, 2005. "Questions of Costs About the French Bio-Fuel Sector by Year 2010," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24560, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Emily Wiemers & Jasmina Behan, 2004. "Farm Forestry Investment in Ireland Under Uncertainty," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(3), pages 305-320.
    4. Sourie, Jean-Claude & Treguer, David & Rozakis, Stelios, 2006. "Economic impact of biofuel chains in France," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21184, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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    Cited by:

    1. Clancy, Daragh & Breen, James P. & Butler, Anne Marie & Thorne, Fiona S. & Wallace, Michael T., 2008. "Valuing the risk associated with willow and miscanthus relative to conventional agricultural systems," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43972, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Witzel, Carl-Philipp & Finger, Robert, 2016. "Economic evaluation of Miscanthus production – A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 681-696.

    More about this item


    Willow; Miscanthus; Co-firing; Net present value; Probit; Linear programming; Agricultural Finance; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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