IFA Renewable Energy Project Team Leader Tom Short, while welcoming the announcement by Minister Naughten of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme said that the scheme does little to cater for the development of farm scale community-based projects.
Mr Short said, “The move away from feed in tariffs to an auction type scheme will essentially favour larger scale projects, particularly wind, to the exclusion of small to medium farm scale community based projects, where a multitude of alternative technologies can be deployed. This is important as the mix of technologies will give greater security of supply’.
Farm scale community-based projects deliver significant value added to rural communities as they utilise local resources, including labour. This would result in a significant spin off into local communities, as has been the experience across many EU Member States. In addition, farm-based projects will help to decarbonise food production, he said.
“The financial viability of medium sized farm scale community-based projects is very much predicated on certainty around income generation. Financial institutions and investors will not become involved in these projects under an auction based system as they will fail to provide a guaranteed support system.”