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Environmental Pillar submission on the Green Paper on Energy 2014 Environmental Pillar is calling on the Government to design a vision for Ireland's energy system that is no longer dependent on fossil fuels, but rather operates with a mix of clean indigenous renewable resources and energy conservation at its core

Issued on: 31 July 2014

Environmental Pillar submission on the Green Paper on Energy 2014

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Summary

The combined consultation submission from the Environmental Pillar can be downloaded at this link.

The Environmental Pillar are calling on the Government to ensure the White Paper defines a vision for Ireland's future energy system which provides an overarching framework within which decisions on energy policy are made.


Given the risk of runaway climate change, the Environmental Pillar believes this vision should define a future system that is no longer dependent on climate polluting fossil fuels, but rather operates with clean renewable indigenous resources and energy conservation at its core. The three dimensions of sustainability - Environmental, Social and Economic - should underpin every choice on energy policy. This requires nothing less than a complete transformation of the energy system. This visionary approach, or intentionality in plan making is supported by the recent NESC Research on Wind Energy in Ireland - Building Community Engagement and Social Support.


Key Messages from the Environmental Pillar Consultation Submission inlcude:

 

  • EU targets for renewable energy in all sectors including transport and reducing energy demand should not be considered a ceiling. Ireland's energy policy can and should be more ambitious than EU targets.
  • In addition to being informed on energy policy decisions, individuals and communities must be allowed to evolve into active 'energy citizens', rather than remaining in the 'passive energy consumers' role that is currently prescribed. Government policy should make it easier for communities, individuals and businesses around the country to take control of their own energy needs through saving energy and generating their own renewable energy.
  • The focus on energy prices in the Green Paper and current policy is misplaced because many of the factors influencing price are outside Government control. Policy should focus on overall energy costs, placing greater emphasis on cost control by reducing consumption and increasing efficiency.
  • Introduce a taxing mechanism that enables the switch to a low carbon economy, the tax should be flexible to fall as low carbon technologies overtake fossil fuels, or increase if targets are not met.
  • The use of fossil fuels in Ireland need to be phased out. We spend €6.5 billion annually importing fossil fuels for over 90% of our energy needs. The dirtiest fossil fuel plants, peat and coal, should be closed immediately with the long term aim of phasing out gas too.
  • In order for consumers to reduce the amount of energy they use, energy supply companies should be encouraged to make it easier for their customers to use less, and this must be financially attractive for suppliers to generate and sell less energy.
  • A moratorium on fossil fuel exploration should be instigated, in line with the recommendations contained within the recent IPCC reports, which explain that to prevent runaway climate change globally over 60% of fossil fuels need to remain in the ground. New exploration is contradictory to this advice.

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