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29
JULY 2019
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Energy Focus
28
JULY 2019
Energy Focus
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Bright future for solar
The Micro Renewable Energy Federation (MREF) has described the proposal to redistribute carbon
taxes to compensate for payments as ludicrous. Matt O'Kee e talks to Pat Smith, chairman of the
energy representative body.
Pat put his criticisms in context: "This looks like another
tax on an already heavily taxed population to redistribute
funds to some sectors of society. Nobody is mentioning
the thousands of hard-pressed farmers who will be
major contributors to this carbon tax and who would
receive nothing in return. The logic should be that this
carbon tax should be ringfenced and proper incentives
put in place for farmers and businesses to reduce their
carbon emissions within their businesses and for homes
to reduce carbon usage. Where there are genuinely
poorer homes then perhaps a higher grant-aid would be
appropriate to help them retro-fit their houses to reduce
fossil fuel use. It seems crazy to me to impose a carbon
tax and popularise it by suggesting that it be returned
to some people, whether they work or not, by way of a
cheque in the post. A further redistribution of wealth from
hard pressed taxpayers just doesn't make sense when the
monies gathered should be used to decarbonise Ireland."
Progress being made
Pat does, however, acknowledge the e orts of Energy
Minister Richard Bruton to change the way energy is
produced and used in Ireland: "I do think that Minister
Bruton wants to change the way Ireland is perceived as
a laggard in climate change to being a leader in reducing
emissions in the years ahead. However, the whole issue
of who pays has still to be played out. If we are to reduce
our emissions by one million tonnes per year, which is
what is required of us, that will cost Irish society one
billion euro per annum by way of changed habits, through
retrofitting costs, changing energy sourcing such as solar
power and building infrastructure to service car and other
transport electrification. It will create thousands of jobs
at the same time so it's not all negative and cost based.
People do need to be made aware of the costs involved
and the government needs to carefully plan so that there
are more incentives than penalties in the context of
achieving this fundamental change in energy creation and
use in Ireland."
Investment payback
The chairman's own forte is in the area of solar energy
Meath farmer, Kevin Lynch and
Pat Smith after installing a ground
mounted system on Kevin's farm