The recent green paper on energy, which was launched by the Government this week, has been broadly welcomed by the IFA.

Speaking at the launch of the Green Paper on energy, IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Harold Kingston said the paper is long over-due and necessary in the context of the many questions that are currently being asked by farmers, rural communities and wider society.

“If energy policy is to be successful, then it must provide the same clarity as the National Development Plans of 2000 & 2007, and in the way Food Harvest 2020 does for the agri-food sector. These plans provide a directional path and Irish people deserve that clarity regarding energy policy.”He said this process must ask if Ireland requires the scale of the electricity infrastructure developments proposed. “All options must be considered when it comes to meeting our electricity needs. The price of energy for households and rural businesses, and its impact on competitiveness, will have to be part of the Green Paper discussion.”

The IFA has made a number of recommendations to develop a sustainable rural energy supply sector:

  1. The establishment of a Green Energy Delivery Unit, which pulls together existing renewable resources and expertise that are dispersed across four Government Departments and five state agencies;
  2. The publication of a coherent bioenergy roadmap which includes long-term Government commitments, particularly in the area of REFIT tariffs, for farm scale energy developments;
  3. A refocus on micro-energy and community-based energy generation; and,
  4. The development of a demand policy for indigenous bioenergy crops by establishing an obligatory rate of renewables usage in all publicly-owned buildings.

Submissions, in electronic form, may be made to the following dedicated mailbox: [email protected] or in writing to the Energy Planning Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, 29-31 Adelaide Rd, Dublin 2. The closing date for receipt of submissions is July 31.