IFA Renewables Chairman James Murphy has welcomed the recent publication by Energy Minister Denis Naughten of a consultation paper for a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), which aims to increase community participation in energy production and allow rural communities to play their part in reducing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
James Murphy said, “IFA has, over a long number of years, called for farm families and the wider rural community to be at the center of renewable energy development. This means ensuring rural Ireland is not just consulted by development companies, but is also listened to, and its concerns addressed. It also means providing opportunities for those living in the vicinity of renewable projects to become shareholders in such projects and to keep some of the value created in rural Ireland to support the local economy.
“I welcome Minister Naughten’s recognition of the importance of communities in this RESS consultation document. In the coming weeks, IFA will again meet with Minister Naughten and impress upon him the importance of ensuring that his community centered proposals are developed into national law,” James Murphy said.
However, IFA has expressed concern about the lack of support in the proposed RESS scheme for farm-scale and micro-energy production. James Murphy added, “While Minister Naughten has asked the SEAI to look at micro-energy, the reality is that it will be a significant missed opportunity if farm-scale energy production is excluded from the RESS scheme.”
Concluding James Murphy said, “Every household must play its part in displacing their fossil fuel use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Supports for micro-energy production will facilitate this. The opportunity for farmers to use roofs of farm buildings to produce farm scale solar renewable energy for their families must not be excluded and Minister Naughten should reconsider his proposal to exclude micro-energy from the RESS scheme.”