Next government’s plans on micro-renewables must be ‘matched by action’

The plans for micro-renewable energy generation contained in the programme for government, revealed yesterday, Monday, June 15, are “long overdue”.

That’s according to the Micro-Renewable Energy Federation (MREF), which said that these commitments must be “matched by action”.

Pat Smith, the chairman of the MREF, said that the programme recognised “the role that farmers, businesses and ordinary households could play in helping Ireland decarbonise by adopting micro-generation technologies and switching to renewable power”.

The commitments…must be matched with actions that include meaningful supports, grants, feed-in tariffs, tax allowances and grid access that make investment in micro-generation a compelling proposition for thousands of Irish farmers, businesses and households.

“Half-baked policy supports and inadequate financial measures won’t wash with farmers and the business community, who have endured many false dawns and failed promises on renewable power,” Smith argued.

The MREF chairperson added: “Ireland has been left behind much of Europe in switching to renewables and a green future through micro-generation.

“The new programme for government is an opportunity to set Ireland on the right path to a sustainable and green future before it is too late,” he argued.

Smith called on representative bodies for farmers and businesses to “immediately engage” with ministers in the incoming government to ensure that grant and feed-in tariff supports are meaningful and accessible, and that “key issues”, such as grid access for the export of surplus generation, is “sorted once and for all”.

He also called for homes and businesses to be grant-aided for both electric vehicle (EV) charger installations and enhanced solar PV systems to support the generation of renewable energy for the transition to EVs.

“A robust network of public and private EV charging stations must be prioritised to accelerate the transition to electric cars. The fact is that over 80% of EV charging will take place either at someone’s home or their place of work. Support for the installation of charging stations needs to be available for both,” Smith concluded.