IFA Deputy President, Tim O’Leary, has confirmed that the Association is to work towards the establishment of a new community renewable energy business, aimed at providing rural communities with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from future renewable projects.
Speaking after a meeting of the Association’s Executive Council Mr. O’ Leary said, “To date the majority of renewable energy projects developed in Ireland have been driven by the corporate sector. Their scale and strategy have left many communities divided and rejecting renewables.
Community based renewable projects can, if developed properly, have a real lasting benefit for communities and it is the intention of the new initiative to ensure that these benefits are maximised for farmers and local communities.”
Mr. O’ Leary added, “Ireland faces significant challenges in meeting current EU renewable energy and climate obligations, and farmers want to do all they can to help address this issue as part of their contribution to the expansion plans for the sector. It is clear that more renewables are necessary if Ireland is to avoid facing significant annual fines in the years ahead.
The Association, as part of its plans, will challenge the Government to introduce policy measures such as a tariff premium to facilitate community participation in the development of renewable energy in Ireland.”
Technologies including solar PV and other renewables all have an important role to play in providing a balanced energy mix and can provide potential for real benefits to reduce future energy costs in rural communities.