Cost efficiency of technology needed for anaerobic digestion a concern – Creed

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has stated this week that the cost of on-farm technology for the generation of alternative energy sources is a challenge.

He also said he was aware of the need to encourage the utilisation of farm manure as an alternative source of energy and pointed to the fact that he recognised the wider environmental benefits of using agricultural residues in the production of biogas/biomethane and in particular its role in the heat and transport sectors.

The minister’s comments came earlier this week during Dáil proceedings when he was asked by deputy Michael Moynihan to clarify the status of additional supports for anaerobic digestion and on-farm renewables.

The minister said that indigenous renewable energy played a vital role in the country’s domestic fuel mix and would become even more important in the reduction of reliance on imported fuels “and meeting the challenging renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030”.

My department is committed to working closely with the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to ensure that the supply of domestic fuels available in the forest and agriculture sectors are mobilised.

He continued: “We want this to happen to support energy generation from a range of bio-energy technologies including anaerobic digestion.

“The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) aims to bridge this economic gap and will support farms and businesses to adopt renewable heating systems, including biogas heating systems.”

The minister went on to say that earlier this month the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton, opened the second phase of the SSRH – an operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems for applications.

“Details of this scheme including the tariffs that apply are available on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) website,” he added.

TAMS supports

Meanwhile, Creed pointed to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) supports capital investment.

TAMS includes a number of target areas which will promote – among other things – sustainability; e.g. low emissions slurry spreading equipment, farm nutrient storage, and renewable energy and energy efficiency.

He added: “I recently made €10 million available for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, following a comprehensive review of TAMS designed to increase its focus on sustainability.

“Eligible investments include the extension of support for Solar PV Installation to all sectors and support for LED lighting as the only form of lighting to be grant aided.

“In addition, other energy efficiency measures such as biomass boilers and water heating continue to be eligible investment items under TAMS.”