Farmers want fair returns for green targets
Irish farmers will not back the Government's new push to meet its green energy targets by 2020 unless they get a fair return, according to IFA vice president, Tim O'Leary.
Speaking at the Irish BioEnegy Association's national conference in Dublin last Wednesday, he told delegates that farmers were cautious after already being down the green energy road many times.
"I'm old enough to remember the OPEC oil crisis of the 1970s and 1980s when the we were all urged to use renewable energy. It didn't work out for farmers and the latest green initiative with alternative crops like on mischantus haven't worked either.
"I know of farmers who have sheds full of mischantus but they do not intend to lose further money on their crops by driving it to Edenderry," he added.
Mr O'Leary called on the Government to design a viable road-map for the renewable energy sector, and to underwrite tariffs or grant aid that could turn green energies into viable enterprises for farmers.
Simplified regulations on aerobic digesters would be helpful, he said, as would a commitment to switch the €600m the State spends annually on heating public buildings to renewable energy sources.
He added that it would also avoid massive EU fines on Ireland for failing to meet our CO2 emissions reduction targets.
The Government plans to introduce a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme next year, and says it will be an important step in creating an indigenous energy sector free from fossil fuels.