Farming Renewable Energy Summit

June 3rd 2021


Welcome and opening remarks from our host

Sarah Murphy, CEO iQuest & Business Post Live

CEO, iQuest & Business Post Live




Policy, Regulation, Targets and Reform



Government policy to support the move to renewable energy

  • An overview of renewable energy in Ireland
  • The current status of the industry and where it needs to go
  • Summary of Wind, Solar, Bio and other alternative energy sources in an Irish context



Eamonn Ryan TD, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications

Eamon Ryan TD is the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. He was appointed to these roles in June 2020.

Eamon Ryan was elected to represent Dublin Bay South in the 2020 general election.

He was born in Dublin and raised in Dundrum and Dartry.

He studied commerce in UCD before taking a job managing a marketing course in the university’s School of Business. He went on to found a cycling tourism company, Irish Cycling Safaris, in the late 1980s and in 1996 won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

He was the founding chairperson of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and began his political career as a Dublin City Councillor for the Rathgar-Rathmines ward. He then went on to serve both as a TD for Dublin South and as a Government Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

In recent years he has worked for a European climate organisation and chaired the digital policy group in the Institute of International and European Affairs.

He is currently leader of the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas.



What’s driving the push to renewable energy in agriculture?

  • The push for Net Zero on Irish Farms
  • Alternative income streams for landowners
  • Meeting our targets: Climate Action Plan, EU climate targets, UN sustainable development goals…
  • The need for 70% of generated energy to be renewable



Moderator: Daniel Murray, Political Correspondent, Business Post
Pippa Hackett TD, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity

Senator Pippa Hackett is Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity. She was appointed to this role in June 2020, only the third senator in the history of the state to be elevated to Cabinet.
Pippa was elected to the Agricultural Panel of Seanad Éireann in a by-election on 1 November 2019 and re-elected in 2020.
She holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Essex, a postgraduate diploma from University College Dublin, and a PhD from the University of Limerick.
She is a former member of Offaly County Council.
Along with her husband Mark, Pippa also runs a farm (Moat House Farm) near Tullamore in Co Offaly, where they live with their four children, where they produce organic beef and sheep. They also produce some bloodstock, and have some forestry.

Moat House Farm is situated on the site of a 12th century Norman motte and bailey identified on the ordnance survey map as “The Moat of Down”, hence the business name.
Study of the science of agriculture including farm and animal management & animal nutrition, genetics, food consumption, marketing and accountancy

Tadhg Buckley, Director of Policy, IFA
From a farming background, Tadhg is currently Director of Policy/Chief Economist with the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Ireland’s largest farming organisation. Prior to joining the IFA last December, Tadhg worked in the finance industry as Head of Agriculture with AIB Bank. He holds a Degree in Agricultural Science from University College Dublin as well as a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from University of Limerick. Tadhg is also a Nuffield Scholar – his study examined the role of dairy futures markets & other price risk management mechanisms in the EU Dairy Industry. He is also a member of the Agricultural Science Association and a Qualified Financial Advisor. He is also actively involved in dairy farming on his home farm in North Cork.
PJ McCarthy, CEO, Renewable Gas Forum Ireland

CEO and founding member of the Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) established in 2014, with a focus on establishing an indigenous renewable gas industry in Ireland.RGFI Representative  on behalf of Industry, on the Design Phase of the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) for Ireland. On the Board of European Renewable Gas Registry (ERGaR) and partner in REGATRACE a European Trading Hub for RNG across EU Member states. Also Board member European Biogas Association  and member of Advisory Council. Project Lead of the AgriBioCNG Cluster Project – business case for biomethane production. Leading Technical and Strategic support to Project Clover, an industry led initiative and collaboration on the fully integrated business proposal for biomethane, bio fertilisers and soil carbon sequestration.




An overview of the planning and permits landscape

  • The practicalities of land diversification for renewable energy
  • The current legislation and protocols
  • Potential for future developments and opportunities




Moderator: Jason Webb, Chief Content Officer, Agri Insider





James Staines, Principal, Staines Law




Tara Reale, Head of Business Development UK & Ireland, Lightsource BP
Tara joined Lightsource bp in 2019, as a Senior Business Development Manager, and is now Head of Business Development for the UK and Ireland. Prior to joining Lightsource bp, Tara worked on both origination side and the advisory side of large infrastructure transactions in the UK, primarily in the Energy from Waste and Electric Vehicle Charging sectors. Since joining Lightsource bp, she has been leading the development of the Irish business strategy, focusing on the development of utility-scale, grid-connected solar projects and battery storage. Tara is a Chartered Engineer and holds a PhD in Asset Management from Trinity College Dublin.





Networking Break


Choose your track

TRACK 1: Outside the Farm Gate (Industry)

TRACK 2: Inside the Farm Gate (Land Use)




The driving source for agriculture’s future

  • New Holland methane powered tractors
  • EV Tractors
  • Robotics: A tractor alternative


Moderator: Justin Roberts, Agriland Machinery Specialist
Mark Howell, Global Product Manager Alternative Fuels & Telehandlers, New Holland Agriculture

Mark Howell is a Global Product Manager for New Holland, a brand of CNH Industrial.
With over 15 years’ experience in product development and commercialisation, in his current role, he is leading the introduction of alternative fuel products within the agricultural business. He is responsible for projects such as the Energy Independent FarmTM concept, the NH2 TM Hydrogen powered Tractor concept, and the New Holland’s methane-powered tractor concept, which explored the potential of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) technology in agriculture. The project has led to the development of the first-generation T6 Methane Power prototype tractor presented in 2013. The third generation, first shown in 2019, was the world’s first 100% methane-powered production tractor. The T6 Methane Power tractor will be commercialised in 2021, creating the opportunity for farmers to power their tractor with biomethane generated from crops and agricultural waste in a virtuous cycle with the potential to be carbon neutral and even carbon negative. 
Mark is a Chartered Engineer Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and an associate member of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE), and holds an Agricultural Engineering degree from Harper Adams University, UK.

Erik Pekkeriet - North West Europe, AgROBOfood

Erik Pekkeriet (born in 1970) is working as Programme Manager in Agro Food Robotics.

He completed his BSc in Mechanical Engineering at Emmen, The Netherlands in 1994. He specialized himself in Maintenance Technology and Management. After he finished his BSc he started his career at Philips as a project employee in maintenance management at a Philips production plant. After a few years he started as a consultant in innovation management in Greenhouse Horticulture. He started as a single consultant, but built and led a department with 5 innovation consultants.

After 7 years he made a change to Wageningen UR, to work directly with real technicians and researchers again, building great robots, vision sorting systems and new greenhouse production systems for, and together with farmers and machine manufacturers. Main projects he developed and worked on were: vision sorting systems for pot plants, cut flowers and vegetables in X-ray-, NIR-, Fluorescence- en RGB-technology in 2D and 3D; robot harvesting systems for cutting roses, gerberas, cucumbers, sweet peppers and tomato leaves and new moving greenhouse production systems for chrysanthemum, pot plants and cucumber. Erik coordinated the 12M EU-project PicknPack (flexible robotic packaging systems). For the Dutch government he leads the scientific program: Precision Horticulture.Erik is also the founding father and network coordinator of the European Digital Innovation Hub network on Robotics named: agROBOfood

The last decade Erik broadened the robotic scope from greenhouse horticulture to open field, livestock, fish, food and other Wageningen agri-food domains. Erik is now leading the agilie team of the Agro Food Robotics Program which consist of 35 experts from Wageningen Reserarch. Erik is also an IPMA-C certified project manager. Other positions are:

  • Chair of the topicgroup on Agricultural Robotics at EU Robotics
  • Chair of topicgroup Greenhouse Horticultuire at the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Techniek in de Landbouw (Dutch Society of Technology in Agriculture)
  • Regional Cluster Leader North West Europe at the agROBOfood network
  • Advisoryboard member for agrifood at the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA)



Microgeneration and energy communities

  • How it could work in Ireland
  • The structure options
  • The future for powering rural Ireland?




Moderator: Eddie Punch, General Secretary, ICSA
Dinny Galvin, Farmer
Gavin Forkan MSc., Managing Director, PlanEnergy

Gavin qualified with a BSc in Marine Science from University College Galway in 1996 and an MSc in Environmental Science (Hons) from University College Dublin in 2000. He has more than 22 years expertise in the development of renewable energy projects including utility scale and single turbine onshore wind, solar PV, on-farm biomethane as well as energy efficiency programmes. He has been directly involved in project origination, design and consent for ca. 1200MW of wind and solar on the island of Ireland since 1999.
He leads a range of technical and commercial projects for clients in electricity, heat, energy efficiency and energy policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Since 2016 he has led PlanEnergy’s activity in mentoring SEAI Sustainable Energy Community groups across the Border and Western counties. For the past three years Gavin has been an EU Horizon 2020 Expert Evaluator for consumer and locally led energy projects. He is currently directing the development of a renewable energy training programme for Teagasc farm advisors in the Border, Midlands and Western region of Ireland.

Declan Meally, Head of Transport and Communities, SEAI