Seven CEOs of dairy processors have signed a letter to the Taoiseach calling on support to develop a farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) industry.
The letter, addressed to Taoiseach Michael Martin, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and other members of cabinet, called on the Government to provide funding of €24m for a pilot scheme to develop eight AD plants.
This funding would match the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund’s (ISIF) commitment to support a pilot project of eight plants and extend this to facilitate a further 117 plants by 2030.
The letter states that developing a farm-based AD industry could reduce emissions by over 680,000t of CO2 per annum by 2030 and create 3,000 jobs across rural Ireland.
The dairy processors involved are all members of Project Clover, an Irish agri-food industry collaboration seeking to decarbonise food supply chains using biomethane produced on Irish farms and is supported by the Renewable Gas Forum of Ireland.
The CEOs who signed the letter calling for support were:
The letter of support is in sharp contrast to recent comments made by ICMSA president Pat McCormack that Irish dairy co-operatives are afraid of developing an AD industry due to increased competition for grass as feedstock.
The letter has also called for the implementation of the Renewable Heat Obligation Scheme which would mandate suppliers of fuel in the heat sector to include a proportion of renewables in their fuel mix from 2023.