Balcas:’RHI abuse goes against everything we stand for’

Balcas base outside Enniskillen

Balcas base outside Enniskillen

Fermanagh-based wood product suppliers, Balcas have hit out at any suggestion of their involvement in the abuse of the RHI scheme within the North, by saying it “flies in the face of everything the company believes in”. 
The Enniskillen firm has responded to claims made on social media this week that they benefited from the scheme in Northern Ireland. In a strongly worded statement to the Fermanagh Herald, Balcas says it has been producing biomass wood pellet fuel (marketed as brites) since 2005 and long before the RHI scheme was conceived here.  
A spokesman said: “Our core customer base is with businesses and commercial operations throughout Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Republic. We are the leading producer of high quality biomass wood pellet fuel in the UK and Ireland, but we are by no means the only supplier.  One hundred per cent of Balcas’ production is from sustainably managed forests on these islands. In the last few years the market has become very competitive, with many imports of wood pellets from overseas.” 
The firm says the brites product was introduced as an innovative bi-product of Balcas’ mainstay timber business and there was a clearly identified market for it throughout Europe when they invested in its development over 11 years ago. 
“Balcas is a long term and substantial investor in the forestry and timber sector on these islands and is committed to the sustainability of our environment and rural industry. Balcas runs its own timber and brites production operations entirely using electricity generated from renewables.” 
Balcas also stressed to the Herald: “The abuse of the RHI scheme in Northern Ireland goes against everything we stand for as a company. We have invested significantly in energy efficiency throughout our own factories and offices. Burning wood pellets to heat empty premises is not what renewable energy is about.”
“We have a large number of wholly legitimate and proper users of our product through the UK and Ireland, a market which is now stable and well-established. The current controversy is doing nothing but damage to the local reputation of a fuel that is widely accepted as making a positive contribution towards the global reduction of CO2”. 
Balcas says it hopes the current situation “will be resolved quickly and solutions developed to eradicate the potential for abuse of the scheme and the resulting costs of these abuses being passed on to taxpayers”.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA