Dáil Éireann - Volume 363 - 28 January, 1986
Written Answers. - Horticultural Industry.
Mr. Kitt Mr. Kitt
 20. Mr. Kitt asked the Minister for Agriculture if his Department have investigated the source of energy of most potential in the horticultural industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Deasy) Austin Deasy
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Deasy): Fuel oil is the most widely used source of energy in the horticultural industry. Price movements have rendered it less economic for the more energy-demanding crops such as early tomatoes but it is still favoured for crops which have lower heating energy requirements such as mushrooms, lettuce and main-season tomatoes. A preliminary survey carried out by Bord Gáis in consultation with the glasshouse industry indicated that the current costs and price of natural gas would not have a significant cost attraction for growers. The position could be examined again if the gas distribution grid is extended to the main glasshouse area on the east coast.
At present prices, solid fuel, particularly coal, can give substantial savings in operating costs compared with fuel oil. The major obstacle is the capital cost of converting the existing heating system but last year a special grant scheme for this purpose was introduced and a number of growers have already availed of it. A project using heat from an ESB generating station to heat glasshouses located nearby has been operating on an experimental basis but the results to date do not indicate significant commercial possibilities from similar units.
Dáil Éireann 363 Written Answers. Horticultural Industry.