Ireland's creaking electricity grid and its ability to connect new projects in rural areas are set to be key challenges for farmers wishing to develop new commercial renewable projects.
This was highlighted by Teagasc bioenergy specialist Barry Caslin and managing director of Local Power Pat Smith, who spoke on a renewables panel discussion on the Irish Farmers Journal Stand at the National Ploughing Championships on Tuesday.
As new schemes are announced to allow farmers to develop small-scale commercial electricity projects, the grid may not have the capacity to accommodate them all without significant strengthening works.
This means that farmers will be in a race to secure available grid connection capacity in their area or risk not being able to proceed with their planned projects.
Smith emphasised the need for any introduced scheme to be followed up with a policy to ensure grid connections.
However, Caslin explained that for larger projects up to 6MW, particularly those involving groups of farmers in community projects, the project may be able to justify the cost of upgrading the grid in their area.