To put it mildly, attempts to develop a viable willow industry in Ireland have been fraught with difficulties. At the turn of the decade, we saw the incentivisation of willow planting under a bioenergy scheme to help get sufficient volumes of biomass onto the market to facilitating the transition to renewable heat generation.

It’s fast-growing cycle, low input and high coppicing characteristics made it an attractive crop for growers. As a result of the scheme, close to 1,000 hectares of willow was planted.