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Energy White Paper has "The Vision Thing" but lacks detail on delivery

16 Dec 2015

Carbon Free vision, 2050 target, community ownership welcome. Needed urgently: detail and delivery

A new national energy policy, the first test of Ireland's determination to play its part in delivering on the ambition of the Paris climate agreement, had been launched my Minister Alex White.

Commenting Kate Ruddock, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Friends of the Earth said,

"We welcome the Minister's vision of a Carbon Free future and the target of an 80-95% reduction in emissions by 2050. It's also good to see the commitment to support citizens and communities owning the clean energy that will power our future. But the concrete actions in today's document don't match the scale of the ambition or the urgency of the challenge.

"The commitment to ending coal burning in Moneypoint is welcome, but we would urge that the plan for a just transition is developed in the next two years and implemented in 2020, not 2025. We don't need 5 years to make a plan and we can't afford to keep burning coal for another 10 years.

"We are concerned that the vision in this document is not yet matched by the innovation needed to deliver it, and it still lacks details on how and when crucial elements of the energy transition will be achieved.

Questions on peat, solar and warmer homes

"What will happen with peat, our most carbon intensive fuel, remains far from clear. The White Paper is ambiguous. Does this policy actually mean there will be no further public subsidies for peat past 2019 when their current licences expire, and that we will stop burning peat for electricity by 2020?

"And what role will solar energy play? Without a specific commitment to a guaranteed payment for solar electricity, Irish citizens and communities will remain locked out of the rooftop revolution that we see happening across Europe?

"Of course the commitments to increase energy efficiency are welcome, but again we must wait for the 'how and when' before we can be sure we will all be living and working in warm, low carbon buildings."

Notes

  1. The White Paper is here: http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/energy/en-ie/Energy-Initiatives/Pages/White-Paper-on-Energy-Policy-in-Ireland-.aspx#
  2. Friends of the Earth has developed 'An action plan for a fossil fuel free Ireland by 2050: 6 Steps to an Energy Revolution' against which we are benchmarking the White Paper

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