Energy in Agriculture launch

The fourth Energy in Agriculture conference and exhibition was launched today on the farm of Michéal Looney, Kilpatrick, Macroom, Co. Cork by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D.

The major national event will take place on Tuesday 20th August at Gurteen Agriculture College. It is a joint initiative between Teagasc, Tipperary Co Council, IFA, Tipperary Energy Agency and Gurteen Agricultural College. The event’s main sponsor is the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Speaking at the launch Minister Creed said: “We need to improve our energy security by reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels. At individual farm level, my Department of Agriculture Food and Marine is committed through TAMS to support investment in renewable energy that will reduce the high cost of energy inputs and can also provide an additional source of income for the business. Energy in Agriculture is an extremely valuable event in creating such awareness of the benefits of renewable technologies in your business and the contacts and links made here will help you develop your business in the future”.

Barry Caslin Teagasc Energy and Rural Development Specialist said: “The next few years will see a dramatic uptake in renewable energy generation on farms. Energy in Agriculture will provide a good opportunity to review existing technologies. The recently announced Support Scheme (SSRH) will see biomass boilers being deployed in our hospitals, hotels, leisure centres, pig units and poultry units, etc. The battery storage sector is growing dramatically, with developers keen to secure sites with a suitable connection to the electricity grid.  Irish energy policy is heavily tied to European legislation, I am confident that renewable energy opportunities driven by a policy framework will open new opportunities in Irish agriculture. Ireland’s Climate Action Plan has developed a path on carbon-reduction initiatives and global policy drivers such as the Paris agreement on climate change is forcing such changes in the way we both produce and use energy”.

Tom Short – IFA Leinster Vice President and Renewable Committee chair said “Farm-scale and community-based renewables must be the central part of future energy policy in Ireland if the ambitions of Government’s Climate Action Plan are to be delivered. Therefore, long-term government investment in proven technologies including solar PV, anaerobic digestion and microgeneration are required. The recently introduced SSRH and TAMS solar funding are important first steps but much more is needed to allow agriculture to harness clean power and heat which will have clear benefits in reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions while creating a stronger, more competitive businesses”.

Conference Speakers will share insights on real opportunities to make financial savings and reduce energy consumption on-farm. The outdoor demonstrations form a popular part of the “Energy in Agriculture” which will have three main focus areas including biomass for renewable heat,  solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) and on-farm energy efficiency.

The Agri-futures arena will give attendees the opportunity to look at the latest in Agri technology, a chance to trial the latest electric vehicles as well as a look at the fully electric Kramer loader. The expo hall with over 60 exhibitors is always a hive of activity with all areas represented; solar PV, wind, biomass, finance and consultancy.

It’s free to attend and farmers will receive professional advice on renewable energy project development as well as hear from those who have successfully made renewable energy work on their farms.