Eight organisations representing renewable energy in Ireland have called on the Government to aim for 70% of Ireland's electricity to come from renewables by 2030.
In June 2018, the EU agreed that 32% of the EU’s energy – across electricity, heat and transport – will come from renewables by 2030.
Ireland’s share of that target will be negotiated with the EU in the coming months and follows confirmation from the Climate Change Advisory Council in July that Ireland will miss its overall 2020 target for renewable energy.
At the moment, around 30% of Irish electricity comes from renewables and while Ireland will fall short of its overall 2020 target it is expected to still reach its 40% electricity target.
A report from energy experts Baringa has said it is "technically possible and cost neutral to the consumer" for Ireland to use renewable energy to supply 70% of our electricity by 2030.
Dr David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, said: “The evidence from the Baringa report is clear. An electricity system using 70 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is not only practical, it is – at a minimum – cost neutral for the consumer.”
Michael McCarthy, CEO of the Irish Solar Energy Association, said: “The cost of these renewable technologies and the cost of finance has never been lower, therefore, resulting in a lower cost of electricity for the consumer.”
Des O’Toole, President of the Irish Bioenergy Association, said: “With the output from our domestic forests expected to double over the next 15 years, CHP utilising locally sourced biomass offers the potential to produce renewable electricity for large energy users and supports the sustainable growth of the forestry sector, which in turn will ensure continued economic vibrancy and employment across rural Ireland.”
Grattan Healy, Chairman of the Irish Wind Farmers Association, said: “Renewables are a key to the revitalisation of rural Ireland because they are by nature a dispersed resource which everyone can tap into, creating local employment and reducing imports nationally and locally of expensive and damaging fossil fuels.”
Garry Connolly, President of Host in Ireland, which represents data hosting partners, said: “Ireland’s ability to become a leader in the renewable energy space will assist significantly in keeping Ireland in the top tier of Global Data Centre Clusters.”
Peter Duffy, President of the Irish Energy Storage Association, said: “The energy storage industry in Ireland is developing rapidly and will be well capable of supporting a 70 per cent renewable electricity target both in terms of facilitating the variability of renewable generation and also providing grid stability.”