“Government Demonises Farmers Yet Doesn’t Recognise Their Emissions Reductions” – Cllr. O’Reilly
Aontú Spokesperson for Agriculture, Cllr. Sarah O’Reilly, has criticised the Government for not recognising the efforts of farmers to reduce carbon emissions.
Speaking today, Cllr O’Reilly said “The Government, as usual, are failing farmers. They demand reductions in carbon emissions, yet fail to recognise or support carbon reducing practices within the agricultural sector. Anaerobic Digestion (AD) represents a serious opportunity for Ireland to reduce its carbon emissions.”
Cllr. O’Reilly continued“ There are many benefits from Anaerobic Digestion. AD recycles farm wastes into fertiliser and provides a renewable energy source (Biogas) for farm use. It also presents an opportunity for farmers in terms of savings on chemical fertiliser and energy purchases. It creates an additional farm income stream through the sale of excess electricity and heat. At the outset, the development of a sustainable indigenous AD biomethane industry offers potential to support the transition to a low carbon energy system as well as support the achievement of agriculture targets”
“However, AD requires a high capital cost and payback will be determined by the price received for the renewable electricity produced. For the first time this year an energy company introduced a Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) offering 13cent/kwh. This alone is not attractive enough to support AD in the Republic of Ireland. The lack of Government support reflects sorely when looking at the numbers. Around 19,000 AD plants are operational in Europe , the North of Ireland currently has 103 AD sites, Germany has 232, France has 131, and the UK has 80 - Ireland has less than 8 AD units.”
“This is only compounded by the fact that the carbon off-set for AD, along with roof top solar on farm buildings and wind turbines are not credited to the agriculture sector, it is credited to the energy sector so there is no incentive for farmers to make use of these sustainable technologies. The government are making massive demands of Farmers, they don’t recognise the efforts of farmers, they don’t incentivise farmers to adopt sustainable technologies and demonise them through the entire process.”