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Business leaders dubious about climate action plan
Winds of change: Danish offshore wind farm which could soon be common sight in Celtic Sea Pic: Shutterstock

24 Sep 2019 / environment Print

Business leaders dubious about climate action plan

Senior business and energy industry experts have poured cold water on the Government’s climate action plan.

Top law firm Mason Hayes & Curran surveyed the business people at its recent ‘Economics of Energy’ event.

Only 10% of respondents said Ireland is “very likely” to achieve its targets, with 35% saying it is only “somewhat likely”, while well over half (55%) said they doubted that Ireland will meet its renewable generation targets on time. 

Asked what would be the most effective way for Ireland to ensure security of energy supply for the future, just under 60% cited offshore wind development as the most desirable option.

Interconnector

An Ireland-European interconnector was favoured for energy security by 35% of those surveyed. 

The remainder of those surveyed hovered between further oil and gas exploration off our own coasts to secure Ireland’s energy supply, while just 2% said they would favour nuclear power.

Despite this, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night announced that Ireland would become one of the first countries in the world to end fossil fuel exploration.

'Incompatible'

An Taoiseach, who ws at the UN Climate Summit, said that he agreed with advice from the Climate Change Advisory Council that oil exploration is “incompatible with a low-carbon future”.

Will Carmody of Mason Hayes & Curran commented: “The Government declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in May, signalling its intent to address climate change and related environmental sustainability issues on a more decisive basis.

“Ireland’s climate action plan envisages having 3,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030, however the right policy and legislative framework needs to exist to incentivise investment and to fast track developments in this area.  

Offshore

“After decades of discussion and debate, we currently only have one offshore windfarm in Ireland on the Arklow Bank.

“We need to see urgent progression of the proposed maritime planning and development legislation, offshore grid connection policy and clarity on off-shore wind’s place in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auctions to stimulate this essential channel of energy supply for Ireland.”

Eoin Cassidy of the firm added “The issue of security of supply could be exacerbated by Brexit, and any potential risks this might pose to the North-South interconnector project and the efficiency of the all-island integrated single electricity market (I-SEM).

Feasibility

“Eirgrid has carried out feasibility studies for a proposed €1 BN Ireland-France power cable (the Celtic Interconnector) which would be able to carry 750MW of electricity, enough to power 450,000 households.

"It would provide Ireland’s only direct energy connection to an EU member state once the UK leaves the EU, and would clearly be a very welcome development if it proves economically viable to bring it forward for development.

“In the interim, the progress of the RESS auction process remains critical to ensuring momentum in the development of renewable generation in Ireland,” he said.

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