Government Paying Lip Service to the Development of a Renewable Energy Sector – IFA

IFA Renewable Energy Project Team Leader Tom Short accused the Government of paying lip service rather than supporting the development of a renewable energy sector and the circular bioeconomy that will create sustainable employment for farming and rural communities.

“It is clear from Government actions that they are only interested in supporting mega wind projects which are predominantly owned by major international companies and large international investor/hedge funds. Unfortunately, these projects will create minimal employment once they are built out and are of limited benefit to local farmers and rural communities as profits in the main will be repatriated to the fund owners who reside outside Ireland.”

The current policy direction lacks future proofing and will fail to deliver under the EU’s Clean energy for all Europeans package which:

  • gives greater rights to consumers by making it easier for individuals/communities to produce, store or sell their own energy.
  • strengthens consumer rights with regard to transparency on bills and gives greater choice/ flexibility allowing for more efficient use of electricity.
  • will increase security of supply through the integration of renewables into the grid.

“The EU clearly recognises that the generation of renewable energy is more expensive than that from fossil fuels and that without financial incentives the market will not deliver the required level of renewable energy. EU state aid rules allow for the introduction of national support schemes to overcome this market failure. Such schemes are targeted at increasing investment in renewable energy projects, deploying a diverse mix of technologies and generation capacities by introducing tiered support measures to take account of same. However, the Irish auction system favours big wind to the exclusion of other technologies and smaller farm/community scale projects.”

“If Government is serious about developing a renewable energy sector that is capable of meeting our targets, they need to properly fund and incentivise its development. To date, many of their policy initiatives fall considerably short in terms of driving the commercial development of a renewable energy industry. The operational supports, in particular for useable heat generated using anaerobic digestion (AD) heating systems bears no reflection on the capital cost of building such plants in the first instance. The inadequate provision of capital grant aid and ongoing operational supports undermines the long-term financial viability of many of these projects to the extent that financial institutions have no interest in funding them.”


“Ireland does not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes putting policies in place that will drive the development of the sector. The international experience clearly shows that investing in the bio-economy and the renewable energy industry generates significant employment, particularly in rural regions and delivers a return on investment.”


“In addition, the switch to renewable energy generation from diversified sources delivers many additional benefits, including increased energy security, reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”


The IFA Renewables Energy Chairman said, “This will not happen unless and until Government formulates a clear and coherent policy, and establishes a dedicated energy fund and appoints a task force to drive on the initiative that supports the development of Ireland’s bio-economy”.


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