EirGrid, the operator of the national electricity grid, has welcomed comments from IFA President Tim Cullinan outlining that farmers’ need to be central to Ireland’s energy transition.
Earlier this week, EirGrid unveiled the Shaping Our Electricity Future roadmap, a blueprint for radically transforming the country’s electricity grid.
In the roadmap, EirGrid outlined a number of key developments needed to support a secure transition to at least 70% renewables on the electricity grid by 2030, as an important step on the journey towards 80% renewables, and ultimately, net zero by 2050.
Included among these key developments are microgeneration and exploring the introduction of a new strand of community benefit funding to support landowners and communities undertaking microgeneration projects.
EirGrid modelling suggests there will be 500MW of microgeneration by 2030, enough electricity for approximately 300,000 homes.
Welcoming the IFA President’s words regarding future engagement and farmers’ recognition of the need for infrastructure development, EirGrid’s Chief Infrastructure Officer, Michael Mahon said: "We are encouraged by IFA members wanting to be central players in Ireland’s energy transition and agree it should be achieved with farmers’ support.
"From our extensive engagement for the Shaping Our Electricity Future Roadmap, many people said a community-led approach to renewable project development such as microgeneration would provide significant community benefit, support acceptance of energy infrastructure and demonstrate a grassroots contribution to achieving climate action targets.
"Farmers are at the heart of this grassroots contribution and we look forward to working alongside them, the ESB and other stakeholders in achieving our renewable ambition."
Speaking about ongoing engagement, EirGrid’s Head of Public Engagement, Sinead Dooley said: "It is clear to see the IFA and its members want to be central in meeting renewable energy targets and we want to thank them for their continued engagement on this. Members of the IFA across the country attended rural workshops and briefings over the course of our 14-week consultation which shaped our roadmap and we thank them for their input. EirGrid listened and this is reflected in the Shaping Our Electricity Future Roadmap.
"We look forward to continuing meaningful engagement with the IFA, its members and communities into the future," added Dooley.