Minister McConalogue has acknowledged the role in which anaerobic digestion (AD) can play in developing the farm renewable sector.

During Tuesday’s Irish Farmers Journal webinar, the minister revealed that investment in pilot AD technology is being included in the National Development Plan.

He acknowledged that State investment in renewables so far has focused mostly on large developments in order to get large amounts of renewable electricity on to the network.

However, as Irish agricultural emissions continue to come under scrutiny, data centre development continues at pace. By 2030, data centres are expected to consume up to 30% of the country’s electricity.

The minister said that every sector must be aware of its footprint and that the development of data centres needs to be consistent with the development of renewable energy generation. Farming won’t be sacrificed at the expense of data centre development, he stated.

The minister believes that farmers will get paid for sequestering carbon in soil but gave no clear timelines on this or on the introduction of the pilot carbon farming trading scheme mentioned in AgClimatise.

He said that further work needs to be done to learn how to measure soil carbon which Teagasc is conducting at the moment.