Look to the seas: Alternative energy challenges

The need to reduce our dependency on carbon-generated energy is one of the imperatives of our age.

This has encouraged, particularly through subsidies, the renewable energy sector.

This process is not without its challenges — challenges often borne by small, vulnerable communities where wind farms or solar energy installations change their world dramatically without any commensurate benefits.

Recently, a Waterford wind farm built outside its planning parameters was ordered to cease operations over noise concerns.

How that issue plays out remains to be seen, but a West Cork community has failed to block a solar farm.

The Mishells Finnis Solar Farm Free Valley Group is unhappy with An Bord Pleanála’s permission for a 13.1-megawatt solar farm 4km north-west of Bandon.

No matter how important a move to renewables is, this seems another David-and-Goliath confrontation.

It may be time to redirect subsidies to developers willing to build wind or solar farms at sea.

The technology exists to do this, but the political will may not just yet.

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