Concern at ‘ridiculous’ barriers to green energy

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and DAERA committee member William Irwin MLA has said significant cost barriers remain in place to farmers who wish to harness solar energy on their farms.

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and DAERA committee member William Irwin MLA has said significant cost barriers remain in place to farmers who wish to harness solar energy on their farms.

Mr Irwin said he was in discussions with one farmer who stated that whilst the solar panels could be placed easily on buildings and the power generated would solely be used on the farm, NIE had quoted £30k to upgrade the line – something Mr Irwin branded as “ridiculous”.

Mr Irwin said: “This is a an issue that I directly raised at the DAERA committee as there is obviously a great deal of talk, debate and political commentary around climate change and what can be done to mitigate the effects.

“However here we see a very real problem which isn’t being tackled and which I believe could be tackled, wherein any farm could utilise the significant roof 
surfaces of large sheds for solar panels but this investment is completely ruined by the sky high costs of connection.”

He added: “This seems absolutely ridiculous and I know that in many cases locally, prices for normal electrical connections for new build homes or businesses have become astronomical in cost and this very clearly also applies for green energy solutions.

“It therefore makes little sense for the green lobby to harangue the public on what they should do, when the existing solutions are basically strangled by costs.”

Mr Irwin concluded: “There is very clearly a mammoth task ahead in any noticeable shift to greener energy solutions and there must come a point when reality hits home and the infrastructure required to make greener energy sources viable for anyone in business, is reasonably priced otherwise we are confined to the existing methods for some time to come.”

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