Farmers who experienced at least a 50% rise in electricity and gas costs this year will be eligible to apply for funding under the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme.

Some 40% of the difference of these electricity unit prices, as calculated by comparing 2021 and 2022’s bills, will be funded by the Government.

There will be a monthly payment cap of €10,000 per business per month, as well as an overall cap of €62,000.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon committed that the Department will ensure that farms with domestic billing systems and shared connections between the house and the farm can access the scheme.

Meanwhile, some €3m per year for a period of four years has been allocated in fresh funding to establish an anaerobic digestion (AD) pilot programme.

The Department of Agriculture has already allocated €24m in the National Development Plan (NDP) to use across 2023 and 2024 for AD sector capital expenditure, the Department of the Environment suggested. Although this Department will not be overseeing this funding, it expects €8m of it to be spent by the Department of Agriculture next year. However, there was no mention of the Department’s plans for NDP biomethane funding by Minister McConalogue when queried by the Irish Farmers Journal on Wednesday.

“What we are programming is the budget ahead for next year, simply what we are going to be investing next year,” he said.

Both ministers emphasised the importance biomethane market support measures will play, administered through a Department of the Environment’s renewable heat obligation scheme.

Plans for this market-led biomethane incentivisation scheme are to open for consultation in January, with the Government hopeful that supply contracts will be signed “by the end of next year”.