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Food Industry

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 21 October 2021

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Questions (371, 375)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

371. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he remains satisfied that the agri-food sector will remain largely unaffected by carbon reduction measures which can be achieved by reliance on renewable energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51915/21]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

375. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which he continues to emphasise the use of alternative energy production to minimise the impact of carbon reduction targets on the agri-food sector in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51920/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 371 and 375 together.

The Programme for Government commits to a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions economy wide between now and 2030 – an extremely challenging ask but necessary as we aim to transition to a net zero economy and society.

The positive contribution from the land use and agricultural sector is built around three pillars:

- Firstly, by reducing our absolute emissions

- Secondly, through enhancing carbon sequestration where our forests and grasslands store carbon and act as sinks; and

- Finally, by the displacement of fossil fuels and energy intensive materials.

The role of Irish farmers in renewable energy systems is three-fold through:

- Establishing energy efficiencies on-farm.

- Through deployment of renewable energy at farm level; and

- As a supplier of biomass/ bio-energy feedstocks

My Department remains committed to supporting renewable energy technology through the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) programme where farmers can qualify for grant aid of between 40-60% for a suite of different cost saving renewable technologies such as LED lighting, solar panels, biomass heaters and variable speed drives for milking plants.

The upcoming launch of the Micro-generation Support Scheme presents an opportunity for farmers to become involved in the supply of electricity through renewable technology. This not only represents an income diversification opportunity but also a cost saving measure for Irish farmers.

The supply of biomass feedstock is an important element for the decarbonisation of heat systems in our agri-food industries and the sector will continue to be a key source of sustainable indigenous biomass material and in fact will double the resource between now and 2030.

It should be noted that while the on-farm renewable energy generation activities of our farmers contribute in a positive way to the energy system the emission reduction benefits of this activity remains with the energy sector. Despite this our farmers remain committed to playing their part in achieving our national climate change emission reduction goals.

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