Weather Impact on Peat Harvest
Fiscal Year 2012 was a particularly challenging year for the peat harvest. Although 95% of target was achieved, changing weather patterns had an impact on peat harvesting operations. Frequent short spells of heavy rainfall punctuated the dry periods during the harvesting season. This posed a particular challenge to the planning and management of peat harvesting operations and peat quality.
Last year’s dry Spring and high winds at the start of production in early May led to a serious incidence of bog fires, which spread to Bord na Móna peatlands. These resulted in significant stock damage and production operations were restricted in order to reduce the risk of further outbreaks of fire.
Biomass Supply Chain/Peat Dilution
Another significant challenge was the establishment of a supply chain of biomass products that would fulfil the peat dilution and co-firing strategy, and support Bord na Móna’s ‘New Contract with Nature’.
The business is facing specific challenges as the demand for peat for power generation declines. These challenges include the expiry of peat fuel supply agreements, the Public Service Obligation peat support mechanism and the priority running status of the three peat-fired power stations. These have resulted in the need for transformational change to maintain a sustainable business. An increased requirement for road transport of peat and the necessity for increased peat dilution continue to pose additional challenges to the business.