For Oral Answer on : 26/05/2022
Question Number(s): 203 Question Reference(s): 26635/22
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 133 of 31 March 2022, if he will provide details of the European Union regulation governing the use of CAP funding through TAMS whereby the electricity generated is solely for farm use and not for payment; the plans, if any, to amend this arrangement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) is regulated by Article 17 ‘Investments in Physical Assets’ of EU Regulation 1305/2013. The payments issued from TAMS since 2014 up to the present date address specifically Article 17(1)(a) of this Regulation.
To encourage on-farm renewable technology uptake and usage, grant aid is provided through TAMS to assist farmers in maximising their contribution to the production of renewable energy through the installation of Solar PV technology along with battery storage on Irish farms. The solar PV systems grant-aided under TAMS include Solar PV Panels and Solar PV Rechargeable Batteries and Solar Panels for water heating under the Pig and Poultry Capital Investment Scheme. The grant aid under TAMS is available at the standard rate of 40%, with a higher grant rate of 60% available to qualified young farmers.
Article 81 of 1305/2013 sets out the regulatory requirements and indicates that unless Regulation 1305/2013 sets out a different position the State aid requirements apply. The State aid requirements are under Commission Regulation (EU) No 702/2014 and Article 14 (4) states the following:
The investment may be linked to the production at farm-level of of energy from renewable sources, provided that such production does not exceed the average annual consumption of fuels or energy of the given farm. Where the investment is made for the production of thermal energy and electricity from renewable sources on agricultural holdings, the production facilities shall serve only the beneficiary’s own energy needs and their production capacity shall be no more than the equivalent to the combined average annual energy consumption of thermal energy and electricity on the agricultural holding, including the farm household.
The current State aid Guidelines in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas have applied since 1st July 2014 and will expire on 31 December 2022. The European Commission proposed changes to the Guidelines in order to align the current rules with the new CAP and other current EU strategic priorities. On 11th January 2022 the Commission launched a public consultation on the draft revised draft Guidelines, which closed on 13th March 2022. In addition to the public consultation, the proposed draft revised draft Guidelines were discussed at meetings between the Commission and Member States, which took place on 10th March 2022. Adoption of the revised rules is planned for the end of 2022.
It is also proposed that support for renewable energy investments will continue under the new Capital Investment Scheme as part of the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) submitted to the EU Commission for approval last December. The position for Capital Investments under the CSP will remain for renewables to be consumed on the holding only.
Allowing farmers to generate more renewable energy for their own use and potentially for sale to the grid is a priority of mine.
My Department is working closely with Minister Eamonn Ryan’s Department on this given the suite of new measures which that Department has introduced for renewable production this year. I will continue to engage in the revision of the State Aid Regulations as part of this and I will examine all ways to support farmers in this area.