IFA president Tim Cullinan has said farmers recognise the need for electricity grid infrastructure development, but their statutory rights need to be fully protected and compensation must reflect the impact of the developments.

He said it is “paramount” that both EirGrid and the ESB fully recognise and respect that the co-operation of farmers is essential to the development of grid infrastructure in Ireland.

Meeting the 500MW micro-generation target by 2030 as outlined in the EirGrid Roadmap Shaping our Electricity Future can only be achieved with farmer support.

Cullinan said farmers recognise the need for infrastructure development and, in general, have facilitated the process over the years through various agreements between ESB/EirGrid and IFA.

“Working through mutual agreement is the best approach.

“This can only be achieved when farmers' statutory rights are fully protected, and compensation and goodwill payments reflect the impact of the developments,” he said.

He said that farmers are entitled to compensation for all damages and losses, disturbance, inconvenience and costs, including the devaluation of their properties and the impact on their farming businesses.

Central players

IFA environment chair Paul O'Brien said it was encouraging to see the increased ambition for the potential of microgeneration to contribute 500MW by 2030.

“Farmers want to be central players in Ireland's energy transition. They recognise the opportunities of microgeneration to produce energy for their use and diversify their farm income by selling excess energy back to the grid. Thus enhancing the sustainability of their farm business,” he said.

He said it is vital that the scope of the microgeneration support scheme is widened, making farm and community-based microgeneration projects viable.

“The net payback period for most on-farm scenarios in the draft scheme is too high and must be reviewed,” he said.