The IFA has welcomed the newly published Energy White Paper but is worried about the effect of wind farms and turbines.
Launched by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, the paper sets out the vision for a low carbon energy future.
James Murphy, Renewables Project Team Chairman of the IFA, also welcomed the report, describing it as "an important framework, which for the first time recognises the important role of communities in energy production."
However, he was less enthusiastic on the subject of wind farms and expressed disappointment at the failure of the White Paper to address the issue of set-back distances of wind turbines from sensitive properties such as family homes, farms and schools.
"This issue is a real concern to many members living in the vicinity of proposed projects and they deserve clarity and certainty," he said. "The obligation must be on wind development companies to operate in harmony with rural communities and Government must assist this by progressing the publication of legally binding set back distances as a matter of urgency."
Murphy added that renewables will assist Ireland to deliver EU energy and climate obligations, but cautioned that this must not take place at the expense of communities.
Therefore, he welcomed the commitment in the White Paper that there will be opportunities for communities to work with Government to develop renewable energy projects.
Murphy said "this commitment must now be followed up with decisive actions, including a tariff premium and grid exemption for community based projects.”
On biomass production generally, Murphy said the global move to create a biomass economy means that the current policy is flawed.
"The position is no longer acceptable whereby tax payers are subsidising imported biomass to meet Ireland’s renewable targets, at a time when thousands of farmers across the country have the land and ability to supply this material. The Government must ensure future biomass supports are exclusively for indigenously produced biomass.”