The sharing and research of good practices and technical site visits throughout the AgroRES project have demonstrated the availability and replicability of renewable energy solutions for the Agri-sector in the Northern and Western Region in Ireland.
A common factor in many successful projects is the guidance of a trusted local or regional agency, rather than reliance on the market. This guidance helped the farm businesses to select the appropriate technology and to navigate regulatory challenges and public supports.
One of the most inspirational good practices for our action plan is the ‘Power from biomass – a project promoting renewable energy production’ shared by the Regional Council of North Karelia (Finland). This good practice has informed the design of our action plan through a number of factors including:
- Delivery by a partnership of local regional actors including Pielinen Karelia Development Center Ltd (PIKES), the Finnish Forest Centre, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Central Karelia Development Company KETI Ltd.
- Targeting the farming sector
- Provision of specific technology guidance and implementation paths
- Use of good practices (case studies) as training tools
A key deliverable of our action plan is to support an energy specific advisory service for the integration of renewable technologies on farms. This advisory service targets energy intensive farming sectors and specific renewable technologies appropriate to those sectors, as follows:
- Solar PV (designed for electricity intensive farms: poultry, pig, horticulture)
- Solar PV + battery for dairy farms
- Biomass heating and SSRH (designed for heat intensive farms)
The service ranges from training of farmers on simple self-assessment tools (Solar PV toolkit), to direct advisory and market facilitation for more complex system (Solar PV + battery, biomass heating).
The results of the action plan to date include training of over 50 farmers and farm advisors and ongoing direct advisory with 18 farm clients.
The Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and Northern & Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) are the Irish partners in the AgroRES project