Call to halt wind energy investment ‘bizarre’

THE Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has described as “bizarre” a report from a leading group of engineers which called for Irish wind energy investment to be halted so Ireland could ensure its international competitiveness.

The IWEA described the Irish Academy of Engineer’s Energy Policy and Economic Recovery 2010 – 2015 report as “full of random facts and figures”. They said it did not constitute “quality analysis as there was not sufficient supporting evidence to stand up their arguments”.

The Irish Academy of Engineers is made up of the elite of Engineers Ireland, with 120 distinguished professionals invited to be members.

In its report published earlier this week, the academy argued that government investment should switch to energy conservation, such as house insulation, and that the country should instead avail of cheap natural gas.

However, IWEA chairman Michael Walsh yesterday warned that there is no “solid reason why the high gas and electricity prices of 2008 will not return”.

“The report does not even acknowledge the widespread concerns around the extraction process for shale gas or how that might impact on its availability, cost or environmental footprint.

“It also does not reflect the relationship between wholesale prices and wind generation. The study by Redpoint released this week demonstrates that this effect reduces the price of electricity by €256m per year by 2020 against a public service obligation cost of €52 million,” he said.

Mr Walsh said the academy had “used numbers in a misleading way with many out of date or used out of context”.

“For example, the capital investment figures mix up private investment and regulated investment. The export capacity on the Moyle interconnector is quoted at 80mw but this is expected to shortly increase to 300mw. The addition of €30/Mwhr to the costs of wind generation is not supported by any quantitive evidence or indication how the estimate was reached,” he said.

“Among the academy’s bizarre recommendations is a proposal to halt private investment in renewable energy to protect the value of state owned assets.

“This would be the same as seeking to ban Ryanair a decade ago to protect the value of Aer Lingus.”


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