Poultry farm switches to renewable heating
Poultry farmer in County Mayo, avails of SEAI’s Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).
- Eliminated fossil fuels for heating
- €22,815.20 annual tariff payment for 15 years
- 6.1 year payback on investment
Martin Dempsey (pictured) runs his family farm in County Mayo. He keeps pigs and poultry. The broiler production facility is an energy intensive process as it requires constant heating and lighting. Approximately 85% of the energy used on a typical poultry farm is heat and 15% is electricity.
Martin always had an interest in renewable energy sources and kept himself informed on the different options available to farmers. Making the switch to renewable energy involves an upfront investment so when Martin heard the government were setting up a support scheme to help and incentivise farmers to make the switch, he decided to learn more. He wanted to be one of the first to apply for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).
Martin recognised that switching to renewable heat was one of the most important steps he could take to reduce the carbon footprint of his business. This switch would immediately remove 136 tonnes of carbon every year.
The first step was a site visit and consultation to determine his best options. It turns out that investing in a biomass boiler was the best option for him. Then Martin made his application to SEAI. Shortly after receiving his ‘Letter of Offer’ from SEAI, Martin arranged for the biomass boiler to be installed. The approximate cost of installation was €140,000.
Martin uses wood chip in his boiler. Wood chips are normally cheaper than wood pellets on a euro per kWh basis. They require about three times more storage space than pellets but are less sensitive to moisture damage.
As part of the SSRH, Martin receives an annual payment (tariff) of €22,815.20 from SEAI. This helps to bridge the gap of the installation and operational costs involved in switching from fossil fuel heating system to a biomass boiler. Martin will continue to receive payment for 15 years.
Based on the cost savings of using wood chip and the SEAI tariff payments, it will take approximately 6.1 years for Martin to receive his payback on the initial installation costs.
At the time, Martin found the application process very drawn-out, but attributes this to being “one of the first applications.” He credits the SSRH team with getting it over the line so that he could start receiving his tariff payments.
Martin is delighted with the performance of the biomass boiler and the low running costs.
He describes SSRH as “a great scheme, well written, no room for abuse. It's fit for purpose for sure.”
Martin and his family also run a seaweed drying business, Sealac, which dries locally sourced seaweed for animal nutritional supplements. He plans to apply for government support through the SSRH for that production facility.
The SSRH process
The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a government funded initiative designed to increase the energy generated from renewable sources in the heat sector. The scheme is open to commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector, and other non-domestic heat users.
The Scheme aims to:
- Bridge the gap between the installation and operating costs of renewable heating systems and the conventional fossil fuel alternatives; and
- Incentivise the development and supply of renewable heat
The Scheme will support:
- An installation grant
- On-going operational support / the tariff.