Last week at the Ploughing Championship in Callan there were major promotions for alternative energy.
A bio energy business park is now planned for the south east. The big question will be where will it be? Belview near the river would seem an ideal location, it would satisfy both Kilkenny and Waterford.
The park will enable new green technology companies to operate. This will be the culmination of four years of research. It will be the first regional bio energy park planned for across Ireland.
There seems to be a major move for alternative energy at present and the bio energy park can be a great boost for the local economy. It would integrate well with local business.
Solar energy and wind power created a big interest at the Callan Show. More grant aid is needed for businesses and farmers to get more into this line of business.
Small business and industry are also being encouraged to move into alternative energy. One of the difficulties for industry to invest in alternative energy is what to do with the surplus.
If a business owned windmill or solar panel is producing electricity it will have a surplus. This would then be sold onto the ESB grid.
The problem is that the ESB will not pay market prices for this electricity. This should be brought to the attention of the Energy Regulator.
In countries like Germany business and private homes that produce surplus electricity are paid market prices for the surplus, which is a like price of what they pay for electricity.
Perhaps this needs to be replicated in Ireland by the Environment Minister, then we would have a better chance of further investment in alternative energy.
Why should the ESB not pay market prices? Our TDs could make some moves on this issue. They should also canvas for this bio energy plant which could be an economic boost to the area.
We understand big companies in the Shannon area are selling surplus electricity at good prices. A review of this energy area and pricing is needed. The EBS got price increases when oil hit highs over the summer, these may need to be corrected at the end of the year if oil prices stay below $100 a barrel.
We look forward to perhaps some lower ESB bills in the coming year and more alternative energy sources.