Reducing electricity costs: 80 dairy farms to benefit from €250,000 pilot scheme

A total of 80 dairy farms are set to benefit from a €250,000 pilot scheme aimed at reducing energy use and saving on electricity costs.

The pilot scheme will be a collaboration between the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Teagasc.

High-efficiency pumps which can “dramatically reduce” electricity consumption on dairy farms are expected to be funded through the scheme.

It is hoped that the scheme will help to ensure that the growth and development of dairy farming in Ireland is as sustainable as possible, according to the Chief Executive of the SEAI, Jim Gannon.

Everyone in the agri-food sector has a responsibility to use less energy, and use cleaner energy where they can.

“Our farming community have been stewards of the land for generations in Ireland and have a key role to play in helping to tackle climate change,” Gannon said.

Projects funded under the scheme will provide valuable data and insights to support evidence-based policy. It is also hoped that the pilot will help identify the right approach which can be rolled out to the broader dairy community.

Commenting on the scheme, Teagasc Director Prof. Gerry Boyle said: “At present, with the uncertainties in world affairs, we need to improve our energy security by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

“In the longer term we need to tackle global warming by reducing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At an individual farm level, an investment in energy efficiency or renewable technologies will reduce the high cost of energy inputs.

“It will also give a green image to our production that is of increasing importance in the market-place.”

Details of the scheme

The technologies covered under the scheme include ‘Variable Speed Drive’ (VSD) vacuum pumps, VSD milk pumps and smart meters. Grant aid is available for up to 50% of total technology and installation costs.

To qualify for the grant, participants must first apply to and get approval from the SEAI. All installation works must be completed and grant request forms received by the SEAI by Friday, October 20.

Participants must fit a smart meter or measure electricity consumption for at least one week before and after installation.

For further information – including the full terms and conditions of the scheme – and application forms, those interested in applying are advised to contact the SEAI by email at: [email protected] Alternatively they call on: 01-8082100.

Local Teagasc advisors will also be able to advise those interested in taking part in the scheme.