ICMSA: Minister’s new TAMS grants ‘make financial sense’

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has welcomed the decision by Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to include solar energy and LED lighting in a new series of grants.

Last week, the minister announced a new set of grants under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), amounting to a €10 million investment in efficient and renewable energy technologies.

The new grants follow a “comprehensive review” of TAMS, with the aim of focusing the scheme more towards sustainability.

These kinds of investments make financial sense on farms and will lead to lower energy usage and demand in the short to medium term.

Denis Drennan, chairperson of the association’s farm and rural affairs committee, said: “The ICMSA is convinced that there is huge potential in this area, given the very significant level of investment in animal housing and milk parlours in the last number of years that could accommodate solar panels and produce excess electricity for the national grid.

“This is where there should be a greater degree of joined-up thinking with other state bodies, such as ESB Networks, that would enable farmers to sell this excess, reduce their carbon footprint and offset it against the perceived excess carbon production associated with our sector,” added Drennan.

He also argued that the minister should follow up the announcement by ensuring that grid connectors for farmers will be prioritised.

Speaking during the announcement of the new grants, Minister Creed said: “The review factored in the latest available technologies to further drive energy efficiency at farm level and reduce electricity use on farms.”

He added: “This is part of the wider drive to position Irish agriculture as a global leader in sustainability, and these investments will further enhance those credentials.”

The new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening April 5 next.