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The increase this month in the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy, that all electricity users pay to support the renewable energy industry, should prompt a pause for thought about the rollout of this industry here.
The plethora of cases before the High Court regarding concerns about poorly planned wind energy developments suggest a Department of Energy review of the industry is urgently required. The extreme volatility of national policy with local authorities, An Bord Pleanála and the High Court regularly engaged in a game of expensive decision reversal and re-reversal, suggests chaos.
Rural communities feel abandoned and abused by a Government determined to comply with EU targets and a combination of small scale developers chasing short term profit while local authority planners appear simply and unable to scrutinise the industry. The upcoming adoption of a new set of government guidelines for wind energy development will not go far enough to deal with the weaknesses in our system.
It is a damning indictment of Irish public administration that even something as ostensibly good as green energy can be turned into a sleazy and incompetence-laden mess.
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