It is now time for the Government to lay out which supports it will make available to farmers to help them achieve the legally-binding 25% emissions reduction target set for 2030, according to Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher.
Kelleher took aim at the pace with which energy generation technologies are being rolled out, slowing farmers in their production of green energy and preventing additional income from being earned.
However, renewable electricity produced on farms will not count towards farmers' emissions reduction targets.
Anaerobic digestion is an area where Government policy is not making sufficient progress, he said.
“In the agricultural sector, it’s clear that farmers will need supports and financial incentives to help meet the targets,” said Kelleher.
“Take the issue of anaerobic digestion. Last year, the Government announced a pilot scheme. At the time, I questioned the necessity for a pilot scheme.
“This isn’t new technology. It’s been in use across Europe for decades. It’s time for action and it’s time for serious investment and co-operation with farm organisations and agricultural co-operatives.
“Not only will it potentially deal with up to 14% of our methane emissions, but it will also produce high-quality organic fertiliser and provide an income for farmers in the production of feed stock.
“Furthermore, the biogas produced from these facilities can be used to heat our homes and power our vehicles. It’s a win-win for everyone,” stated the Ireland South MEP.
Failures in solar
Kelleher also claimed that a “huge proportion” of on-farm solar PV generated energy was being lost due to the combination of inadequate grid infrastructure and lacking financial incentives. This, he said, was the equivalent of “throwing away” electricity.
“A huge proportion of solar generated electricity is lost due to the inability of small producers to sell it into the national grid. It is simply no longer acceptable to be literally throwing away carbon-free electricity every day.
“Today, I’ve communicated with the Minister for Agriculture my concerns on this issue and have requested a detailed briefing at the forthcoming Fianna Fáil parliamentary party think-in in September on these issues.
“Fianna Fáil must be the party of real, tangible solutions to the climate crisis. We can and we must meet the challenges ahead of us and bring our communities with us,” the MEP concluded.