Published: Tue, 14 June 2022
Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly has raised the ability of farmers to sell excess electricity generated from renewable energy, particularly solar energy, for sale to national grids with the European Commission.
“The war has changed everything and the EU is rightly looking to both massively increase our domestic supply of renewable energy as well as secure alternative supplies of gas and oil to reduce our dependence on Russia. We still have an abundance of untapped potential energy generation in Ireland, we have to look no further than unused rooftops on farmlands, which are primed to create solar energy”, said Kelly.
“Solar PV Panels, Solar PV Rechargeable Batteries and Solar Panels are currently included in the grant aid schemes under the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMs). However, the problem at the moment is that under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), TAMS-funded solar-generated power can only be for own-farm use. This makes little sense in my view, solar is a clean source of energy but under the current arrangements we basically have little incentive for farmers to utilise all their potential”, Kelly added.
“The small-scale generation of energy by farmers has several benefits; it provides a means of increasing income streams, reduces overall carbon impact of farms, increases renewables mix in the energy mix and reduces impacts of rising energy costs for farmers. These are wins all round and EU legislation must ensure it facilitates this.
“As lead negotiator for the EPP on the previous version of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), I championed renewable energy communities (RECs) and microgeneration. This principle must be expanded and I can think of no better place than providing farmers a means to monetise energy generation that benefits society more broadly too.
“In this regard, I have called on the Commission to commit to allowing farmers across Europe to fully maximise their renewable energy generation potential and sell excess to the grid and to amend any Regulations that currently prevents this. Farmers have long showed their willingness to play their part in decarbonising our energy system, so let’s make sure they can”, Kelly concluded.