IFA President said it’s time for an implementation plan to convert the recent announcements on renewable energy into tangible action.

Mr Healy was speaking at Energy in Agriculture 2018 in Gurteen College today, which he said was evidence of the strong interest among farmers, but they will need certainty around their plans.

Joe Healy said the recent publication of the broad design of a new RESS by the Environment & Climate Action Minister Denis Naughten places what he described as a welcome emphasis on community participation in future renewable projects, although he said it has not recognised the additional supports required for categories such as farm-scale projects.

He said the move away from a feed-in tariff model to an auction-type scheme may ultimately benefit larger scale projects, particularly wind, to the exclusion of small to medium farm scale community-based projects, where a multitude of alternative technologies can be deployed.  

“This will not create a balanced mix of energy sources, which will continue to add to community concerns and also limit Ireland’s security of energy supply.”

The IFA President said farmers with forestry offer significant potential to meet the growing demand for biomass in the emerging bioenergy sector.

Mr Healy said approximately 40pc of the total forest area in Ireland is owned and managed by farmers, with the majority of plantations reaching production in the coming decade. 

Forecasts show that timber production will more than double to 7.9 million m3 by 2035, with almost all of the increased volume coming for farmers.