IFA President Joe Healy will open an important solar energy seminar in Portlaoise on July 14 by emphasising the need for greater policy certainty from Government regarding REFIT tariffs and increased community participation in future renewable energy projects.
Mr. Healy said, “Over 6,000 acres of farmland is currently under some form of a solar contract, in anticipation of a new renewable electricity price support which was due to be announced earlier this year. The delay in clarity from the Government regarding the level of price support is contributing to a high level of speculative approaches by development companies. This is extremely concerning and IFA will meet with Energy Minister Denis Naughten shortly to seekprogress on this issue”.
IFA Renewables Project Team Chair James Murphy will launch a guidance document for farmers who have been approached by development companies. He has also called for rural communities to be front and centre of future renewables projects. “It is no longer acceptable for developers to impose renewable projects in rural Ireland. Host landowners and their neighbours must be offered a shareholding in such renewable projects. Government policy and grid connection policy must support this.”
The solar seminar will hear from tax expert Declan McEvoy of IFAC Accountants, solicitorm James Staines from Kennedys, Bob Hanna from the Department of Energy and representativesm from the ESB, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Free tax and legal advice clinics will also be available at the seminar.
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