Potential €2bn in energy exports

IRELAND has the ability to benefit to the tune of around €2 billion per year, on the back of new EU penalties on member states not meeting their 2020 energy targets.

Speaking ahead of its autumn conference to be held in Galway on Thursday, Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) chief executive Dr Michael Walsh said that stringent EU penalties for nations that fail to deliver on their targets could turn into a €2bn energy export opportunity for Ireland.

“All European countries have a legally binding agreement with the EU to deliver a fixed share of their energy from renewable sources.

“Fortunately Ireland can meet our 16% renewable energy target very economically as we have the resources and know-how to produce over 40% of our electricity from renewable sources such as wind. However, it will be a major economic own-goal if we don’t go way beyond our own target and export the surplus to countries that do not have the ability to meet their targets,” he said.

“We have the potential to export up to €2bn worth of wind energy from Ireland annually, but only once we have the framework and infrastructure in place. This prospect will be all the more real – post-2020 – when nations that have not reached EU targets face infringement proceedings,” Dr Walsh said.

“Countries that don’t deliver will face significant penalties under infringement proceedings and this will deliver a significant opportunity for Ireland if we have the required infrastructure in place to become a renewable energy exporter by 2020. This is because nations with a renewable energy shortfall will, without doubt, import that energy from those countries with excess renewable energy so that they can avoid any EU penalties,” he added.

The EU, however, still has to clarify the regulations surrounding the trading of renewable energy, as well as setting out to what level infringement penalties will rise.


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