Wind energy response to new renewable energy scheme

25 Jul 2018

Ireland’s largest renewable energy organisation, the Irish Wind Energy Association, has cautiously welcomed the publication today, 24 July, of the Government’s proposals for a new scheme to support the development of renewable electricity.

Dr David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, said: “Our members will take some time to go through the detail of what has been published today but it is a welcome first step from the Government to supporting the expansion of renewable energy.

“Wind energy is delivering for Ireland. Supporting its development, onshore and offshore, is good for jobs, good for the economy and essential to fighting climate change.

“Onshore wind is the lowest-cost renewable electricity available in Ireland. Under this new support scheme, it will bring significant investment to rural Ireland, particularly via the proposed community benefits which are consistent with IWEA’s own Community Engagement Strategy released earlier this year.”

Offshore wind

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme will also support the development of offshore wind, which is critical if Ireland is to set ambitious targets for renewable energy in 2030.

Dr Connolly said: “Today’s announcement is an important milestone in growing a sustainable offshore wind industry, but it will not be enough.

“We need to ensure offshore wind can connect to the electricity grid and applications to develop wind farms under the foreshore consenting regime must be processed smoothly.”

Disappointment 

Dr Connolly continued: “There will be some disappointment that the Government seems to be aiming for a target to get 55 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2030. Countries of a similar size to Ireland like Scotland and Denmark plan to achieve 100 per cent by the same date.

“If Ireland wants to be a leader on climate change, we should aim to at least match the average EU target for 2030. 

“The technology and the resources to achieve a 70 per cent renewable target for Ireland’s electricity sector are there and we would encourage the Government to lead by setting a target over the coming months that is ambitious, but achievable, for 2030.”