Govt Policy On Renewables Has To Favour Farm Scale & Community Projects

Following his address to the IFA AGM earlier this week, IFA Renewables Project Team Chairman Tom Short said Energy Minister Richard Bruton has to put farm scale & community projects at the heart of his renewables policy, rather than big business.

Richard Bruton said the upcoming renewable electricity scheme would not specify the technology types, but instead would be driven by economies of scale. “This means large-scale solar and wind projects across the countryside.  This will continue to lock out farmers, home-owners and rural communities from playing their part in the transition to a low-carbon energy future,” Tom Short added.

“The strategy for renewable electricity supply by successive Governments has fuelled a rush to large scale renewable projects, which have no community ownership or participation.  After 25 years of renewables, it’s a shame that Ireland can only point to one community-owned renewable project.”

If the Government wants ‘buy-in’ from citizens and communities, then price support, grid access and planning will have to be adjusted for the next phase of renewable energy production,” he said.

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney said, “Farming can help reduce emissions in energy and transport.  The Teagasc climate roadmap has identified that almost two megatonnes of carbon dioxide can be reduced by displacing fossil fuel use in the sector, in areas such as energy efficiency, bioenergy and biofuels.  However, clear policy measures are required from Government.”


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