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Energy professionals sceptical on wind targets
Pic: RollingNews.ie

08 Sep 2022 / environment Print

Energy professionals sceptical on wind targets

A survey of professionals working in the energy sector has found that almost 70% believe that the Government’s delivery target for offshore wind is either ‘extremely challenging’ (42%) or ‘completely unrealistic’ (27%).

The survey, carried out by business-law firm Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC), found that just 7% of respondents believed that the increased target of 7GW was ‘realistic and achievable’.

Almost 80% of those surveyed, however, thought that Ireland could implement policy changes to avoid blackouts in the next 18 months.

The survey was carried out ahead of MHC’s annual energy conference in Dublin (8 September), which was attended by around 400 people from the sector.

Policy uncertainty a concern

It found that more than half of those surveyed thought that a 75% emissions-reduction target set for the electricity sector by 2030 was unachievable. Just over half also saw the target of reducing agriculture emissions by 25% by 2030 as ‘too modest’.

Planning risks and grid infrastructure/management were the two issues seen as the greatest challenges to offshore wind delivery in Ireland.

Uncertainty about policy was cited by more than two-third of respondents as the biggest risk for investors looking to put money into renewable-energy assets; on the other hand, the potential for attractive returns was seen as the biggest incentive to invest.

Almost 60% believed that it should be possible to achieve energy security, while also pursuing the environmental aims of policy in parallel. More than half thought that a windfall tax on energy companies would have a negative impact on future investment in renewable energy.

Plan to be updated

Minister Ossian Smyth (Minister of State at the Department of the Environment) told the conference that the Government’s climate-action plan would be updated in the coming weeks.

“We are still on target for an 80% reduction in fossil fuel by 2030, and we need that more than ever,” he said.

“This energy crisis is not about a crisis in renewables; it’s not about shortages in the renewable sector. It’s a fossil-fuel crisis. We haven’t decarbonised fast enough,” the minister added.

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