The next few years will see a dramatic uptake in renewable energy (RE) generation on farms and in rural communities. To celebrate Earth Day 2022, we are sharing some Irish and EU Renewable energy best practices that are suitable for agricultural and rural communities.
The NWRA is a partner in the AgroRES project which is funded by Interreg Europe along with 7 other organisations in 7 countries. The other partners are
• Agencia Extremeña de la Energía (AGENEX) Spain
• Devon County Council United Kingdom
• Lubelskie Voivodeship Poland
• Regional Council of North Karelia Finland
• Bucharest-Ilfov Regional Development Agency Romania
• ARSIAL Italy
• Institute of Technology, Sligo Ireland
The Contract Research Unit in Sligo IT (now The Atlantic Technological University) working with the NWRA has prepared a regional self-assessment that examines the current levels of deployment of RE technologies in agriculture in the North West Region, and it is now available to view on the AgorRES website
Below is a list of some RE that has been picked as best practices from across the EU.
In Ireland, Polecat Springs group water scheme near Elphin, Co Roscommon has installed 50kW solar PV to reduce their dependence on grid electricity to pump water from the springs to a reservoir for distribution to members of the scheme. There is the capacity to add another 100kW of PV to the plant. In the first 7 months of operation, the plant saved 8,900 tonnes of CO2. Read more
Near Thurles, Co Tipperary, J & M dairies installed a 9.54kWp solar PV array with a 10kWh Sonnen battery storage system that creates clean energy to provide power for milking machinery, lighting and heat water for cleaning of farm buildings. The plant saves 4.3 tonnes of CO2 annually. https://t.co/nHzlU3ihsd
In Co. Kilkenny, O’Shea farms supply fresh produce to supermarkets. They have a high all year electricity demand for refrigerated storage and grading equipment. In 2015 they installed a 250 kWp solar PV system that saves 39 tonnes of CO2 annually. Read more
In Spain, one of the biggest floating solar PV installations has been installed near Merida. The PV panels generate 640,000 kWh saving 297 tonnes of CO2 annually. The panels are placed on pontoons in the reservoir and assist in preventing the evaporation of water. The energy produced is used to pump water to storage reservoirs for distribution to farms for irrigation. Excess electricity is sold to the electricity network. Read more
In Riete, to the north of Rome, Italy, Tularù is an organic and multi-purpose closed-cycle (circular economy) farm near Rieti in the Lazio Region. They produce grains, vegetables and fruit whilst rearing cattle and chicken and Half of the farm is woodland. Tularù has installed a range of RE including PV, solar thermal, an inverted flame wood stove, thermal composting & pyrolysis: a wood-fired oven, which produces “biochar” as a byproduct, which enriched with bio-fertilizer, guarantees excellent farm crop health. Read more
In Finland, The Eno Energy Cooperative is a community-based enterprise in North Karelia. The aim is to generate heat energy by providing woodchips for 3 district heating plants using small-diameter trees. The trees are sourced by manual felling (15%), multi-tree processing (70%) and logging residues (15%) from clear cut areas. District heating replaces circa 2 million litres of oil every year, saving 5,000 of CO2 and employing 7-10 people. Read more
In Poland, A biomass boiler house is used at the School Complex in Ostrów, Lubelski. Biogas is produced using organic waste products and used to heat the school. Post production waste material is used as fertilizer, reducing greenhouse gases Read More
In Romania, This scheme provides support for projects that will electrify households and communities where connection to the grid is not technically or economically feasible. Read More
In Devon, UK, Substantial amounts of under-used, small areas of woodland, in very rural areas, can supply biomass. Residents who share a common interest in the environment + reducing carbon footprint set up the Dartmoor Woodfuel Co-operative in 2009. The Dartmoor Woodfuel Coop enables woodland to be made available for biomass fuel production through cooperation between landowners + and customers. Read more
If you would like to know more about different renewable energy solutions in agriculture, a guide to many more good practices is available at this link.