Lack of focus on renewables criticised

IRELAND’s €12 billion renewable energy sector has the potential to significantly improve the nation’s economy, but a slowness in connecting wind turbines to the national grid is hampering job creation, the sector’s representative body has warned.

Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) chief executive Dr Michael Walsh has called for a national “action plan” to tackle the issue.

The association warned that the slow rate at which turbines are being rigged up to the national grid is not only “seriously threatening” Ireland’s ability to achieve its renewable energy targets by 2020, but is also delaying investment in projects that should be creating high-quality jobs in the economy.

“In five to six years time Ireland will have made inadequate progress towards our National Energy Policy targets of 40% of all electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020,” said Dr Walsh.

“Ireland has the renewable energy resource to transform our energy use, deliver greater energy security, more stable and lower electricity prices, and make a vital contribution to ‘de-carbonising’ the Irish economy.

“The IWEA is proposing a road map that would deliver steady increases in activity of 11.5% per year over the next decade and allow Irish companies to scale up their investment and employment. Without this road map we will end up trying to meet these targets at the 11th hour and will have denied Irish companies a chance to build up their capacity to achieve it,” he added.

Dr Walsh has called on the Government to properly activate the Renewable Energy Development Group — led by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and including representatives from IWEA, Sustainable Energy Ireland, ESB, EirGrid, the renewable industry and other government departments — to oversee the implementation of the national action plan.

“This group was established last year and has only met a handful of times since.

“It is an essential group, whose role must be to oversee and ensure the targets are met,” he said.


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