Our energy policy is overly ambitious

The cancelling of an agreement with the UK to export wind energy and the shelving of the 40 wind farms in the midlands show that our renewable energy policy is over-ambitious.

The spending of billions of euro on the Grid 25 project to upgrade electricity needs to be questioned.

The Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte has set up an expert panel to assess putting the 400,000-volt power lines underground. This panel is chaired by the former Supreme Court Judge, Catherine McGuinness, and includes the economist Colm McCarthy, John Fitzgerald of the ESRI, Professor Keith Bell of the University of Strathclyde, and Dr Karen Foley of the School of Landscape Architecture at UCD.

The panel is limited to comparing overhead wires suspended by 45m pylons and underground wiring, even though Colm McCarthy has questioned the cost-effectiveness and magnitude of our Renewable Energy Policy. With the cancellation of 1,000 wind turbines, a debate by the expert panel on the renewable energy policy and Grid 25 would be logical.

The panel probably won’t announce their conclusions until after the local and European elections on May 23. Eirgrid is also waiting until that date to announce the route that the Grid Link project will take in the southeast.

Is this a stalling tactic to give the Government candidates a chance in May?

Fianna Fáil have announced Kieran Hartley as a candidate in the European elections in the South. He emerged from his vocal opposition to Eirgrid’s plan to put pylons near his home, and across Co Waterford.

The door is open for this type of candidate, because the people feel disenfranchised, and that the Government doesn’t represent them.

Now is the time to include the Renewable Energy Policy, and the necessity of the Grid 25 project, as part of the expert panel’s examination. We don’t want to spend €4bn of public funds unnecessarily.

We have seen too many instances of reckless public spending and we just can’t afford it.

Our debt is high enough without adding billions more for something that isn’t necessary.

Martin Power

Lismore

Co Waterford

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