Government urged to help households and businesses with energy costs

Price volatility should prompt accelerated deployment of solar PV, says energy group

‘Escalating gas prices feed into every facet of peoples’ lives,’ said Micro Renewable Energy Federation chairman.  Photograph: iStock

‘Escalating gas prices feed into every facet of peoples’ lives,’ said Micro Renewable Energy Federation chairman. Photograph: iStock

 

The Government needs to step in urgently to help consumers, farmers and businesses withstand the consequences of rising energy costs and scarcity in energy availability, according to the Micro Renewable Energy Federation.

Supporting measures should include an accelerated rollout of solar PV panels for all households over the coming years because of likely energy price volatility, said federation chairman Pat Smith.

“Escalating gas prices feed into every facet of peoples’ lives,” said Mr Smith. “Not alone will home and business energy costs rise but the knock-on effects are going to drive business costs, which will inevitably lead to rising costs for households on almost all home purchases from food to transport.”

There was enough roof space on the farms and businesses of Ireland to install up to 3,000 megawatts of solar PV without using an acre of valuable agricultural land, he said.

“At today’s energy prices this would generate the equivalent of €500 million per year of renewable energy to power farms and businesses and displace imported gas, creating thousands of sustainable jobs across the country in the installation of solar PV and micro-generation systems,” he added.

Delays

Mr Smith said there was no reason why every suitable roof in Ireland was not covered with solar panels within 10 years but the Government needed to introduce the necessary measures to support development of micro-generation of renewable power without further delays. His organisation represents renewable energy companies installing and manufacturing micro-solar PV and battery storage in Ireland.

The crisis in gas prices and supplies would place intense pressure on the price and availability of many farm inputs, from fertiliser to plastics, going into 2022, he predicted.

It was inexcusable no progress had been made in creating a sustainable anaerobic digestion and bio-fertiliser industry in Ireland, he said, when it could significantly reduce dependence on imported gas and fertilisers.

“The impending energy crisis should not be wasted . . . the Government [must] put the policies and support framework in place to assist in developing a sustainable biomethane and biofertiliser industry in Ireland,” he insisted.