Speaking at the launch of the Green Paper on energy in Dublin today (Mon), IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Harold Kingston said the Paper is long over-due and necessary in the context of the many questions that are currently being asked by farmers, rural communities and wider society.
“If energy policy is to be successful, then it must provide the same clarity as the National Development Plans of 2000 & 2007, and in the way Food Harvest 2020 does for the agri-food sector. These plans provide a directional path and Irish people deserve that clarity regarding energy policy.”
Harold Kingston said this process must ask if Ireland requires the scale of the electricity infrastructure developments proposed. “All options must be considered when it comes to meeting our electricity needs. The price of energy for households and rural businesses, and its impact on competitiveness, will have to be part of the Green Paper discussion.”
The IFA Environment Chairman said, “Government policy has been inadequate in supporting the development of a vibrant, indigenous and land-based renewables sector. I hope that the outputs of the Green Paper and the subsequent White Paper will address this”.
IFA makes the following key recommendations to develop a sustainable rural energy supply sector:
- The establishment of a Green Energy Delivery Unit, which pulls together existing renewable resources and expertise that are dispersed across four Government Departments and five state agencies;
- The publication of a coherent bioenergy roadmap which includes long-term Government commitments, particularly in the area of REFIT tariffs, for farm scale energy developments;
- A refocus on micro-energy and community-based energy generation;
- The development of a demand policy for indigenous bioenergy crops by establishing an obligatory rate of renewables usage in all publicly-owned buildings.