Steven Agnew MLA

Misappropriation of green energy schemes cost all of us

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Steven Agnew MLA reflects on the damaging effects of another green energy scheme scandal – this time a scheme involving the conversion of animal waste to energy.

“Another controversy, another blow to public confidence in green energy schemes. However, it is important to distinguish between the green technologies and those who implement the incentive schemes.

“This time, concerns have been raised about the misappropriation of incentives for a scheme that involves converting animal waste into renewable energy.

“Anaerobic digesters use organic material like slurry and silage to produce methane gas which is then burned to produce renewable electricity. Under the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme a 500Kw capacity plant can earn up to half a million pounds a year in subsidy.

“It has been reported that neighbouring farmers are abusing the scheme by claiming separately for the same digester. A recent BBC Radio 4 investigation suggested that up to eight “phantom plants” are using a postcode loophole to extract the maximum level of subsidy. I will be following this up with OFGEM.

“Then come the environmental concerns associated a boom of poultry and pig mega farms whose waste will be fuelling these digesters. Increased levels of nitrates are a further threat to our over polluted rivers where mass fish kills have already become common place.

“At the heart of this is the Going for Growth strategy out of which these mega farms arise. This strategy is at complete odds with the greenwash of those who have implemented and promoted the ROC scheme and RHI.

“Developed between the then Department of Enterprise and the Department of Agriculture the ‘bigger is better’ approach to farming is not only environmentally unsustainable but also puts at threat the traditional family farm.

“The ministers at that time were Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill. Their agenda was never about sustainability but instead about facilitating big business at any cost.

“That is why we see the exploitation of ROCs and RHI for profit rather than as part of the just transition to a low carbon economy.

“The IPCC report was stark, we have twelve years to avoid climate catastrophe. We will need future incentive schemes to make the change.

Steven Agnew concluded:

“The Green Party will work to ensure that sustainability rather than profit is at the heart of any future schemes.”

ENDS

Media contact

Sinead McIvor – 07701 302 498

Tags: , ,

by