Ministers outline vision for renewable energy

An electricity ’super grid’ could extend the potential for renewable energy from green sources right across Europe, it was claimed today.

An electricity 'super grid’ could extend the potential for renewable energy from green sources right across Europe, it was claimed today.

Environment Minister and Green Party leader John Gormley said different conditions in different parts of Europe – and even North Africa – could provide energy to a potential market of 500 million people.

A Europe-wide link up could solve the problems of uncertainty of supply from sources such as wind and wave power.

He said: “With imagination, vision, determination – and with Europe’s help - our energy could be made up of solar energy from Seville, tidal power from Rathlin island and Torr Head; geothermal power from Reykjavik; hydro electric electricity from Norway; wind power from Denmark; wave power from the Kerry coast and biomass crops from Germany.”

Taking his inspiration from President Obama’s Jobs and the Green New Deal, he added: “An energy super grid is one element that could advance the Green New Deal – a proposal to create ’green collar jobs’ for five million Europeans by mobilising €500m of private and public investment over the next five years.”

Addressing the Greens’ Northern Ireland annual conference in Belfast he said in that the new economy the North was uniquely placed – not least in terms of its abundant renewable, and especially wind and marine, energy supplies.

“With the right political, business, union and environmental leadership and partnership, it could become a green economy leader,” said Mr Gormley.

The Greens’ sole Stormont Assembly member used the conference to accuse the North’s Environment Minister Sammy Wilson of having “made an idiot of himself” on the international stage.

Mr Wilson is an outspoken sceptic of the argument that climate change is man-made and Green MLA Brian Wilson questioned how, with his opinions, he could be tasked with implementing the Climate Change Act.

The minister recently censored a UK government-made “Act on CO2” advertisement in the North, something which Brian Wilson said had made the North look ridiculous throughout the world.

He said his namesake was “a minister who had made an idiot of himself”.

He added: “The minister’s views are completely incompatible with his role as Minister for the Environment and his responsibility to promote the fight against climate change as set out in the Programme for Government.”

Mr Wilson said that overall the Assembly’s progress as far as green issues were concerned had been dismal.

“In fact, it would seem to be stuck in reverse gear,” he added.

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