IWEA calls on Government to deliver the key infrastructure required to ensure Ireland meets its EU 2020 renewable energy targets and to approve the extension of the REFIT I market support scheme to allow project construction in 2012 and early 2013.
The Irish Wind Energy Association today (11 July) welcomed the launch of the Ireland 2012 – Energy Review conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The report reinforces much of the work undertaken by both the Irish Government and industry committed to Ireland meeting its EU 2020 renewable energy targets, but stresses the need to be vigilant in order to deliver same.
Speaking at the launch of the report, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, Kenneth Matthews said, “We welcome many of the recommendations put forward in this report, regarding the need for greater investment in renewable technologies, expanding grid integrations and delivering key infrastructure, enhancing the powers of the energy regulator, improving the countries level of energy security and further enhancing the consultation, planning and consenting process for critical energy infrastructure projects with local communities.
“All of these issues are essential pieces of the puzzle which are required in Ireland in order to reach our 2020 renewable energy targets.
“Greater investment by the government in infrastructure and development leads to greater certainty in the sector. And greater certainty means greater investment; the two are mutually reinforcing.
“Construction-ready windfarms could be delayed or cancelled if Government does not approve an extension to the REFIT 1 market support scheme. The industry has advised that extension of access to REFIT 1 support scheme is critical to projects commencing construction in 2012 and the first half of 2013. Should this extension of existing approvals not emerge this could equate to a loss of investment of €360M in 2012. This could slow down the build rate for windfarms in 2012 and further threaten Ireland’s ability to meet binding EU 2020 targets.
“The difficulties the proposed developments face include planning, delays in grid delivery and changes to the financial and market environment. It is imperative that the Irish Government takes responsibility for overseeing all of these challenges to ensure success.
“IWEA also fully supports and encourages the continued engagement and consultation with communities around Ireland who are fundamental to increasing Ireland’s delivery of wind energy and meeting our EU 2020 targets.”
Ireland’s target under the 2009 EU Renewables Directive is for renewable resources to account for 16% of total energy consumption by 2020, which encompasses a national Government target of 40% of our electricity to come from renewables by 2020. Current levels are at approximately 18% of our electricity coming from renewable sources.
According to Matthews, “Reaching our 2020 targets will save the Irish consumer on average €38 a year on their Electricity bills. The wind sector can also create 10,700 jobs in a number of sectors such as construction, legal advisory, and maintenance.
“The report highlights how dependent this country is on imported oil and gas particularly. Ireland is at the end of a long pipeline, with 95% of our gas coming from the UK, and North Sea gas field which is depleting at 7% per annum. The UK will eventually be looking to Norway, Algeria and Russia for its supply. Wind, the alternative is free, secure, and we have plenty of it.”