Renewable Energy in Ireland to Triple by 2010

The amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources will triple by 2010, said Ireland’s Marine and Natural Resources minister Noel Dempsey. His statement comes as his department’s Green Paper on energy, [published Oct. 1st], is expected to formally rule out nuclear energy as a possible option.

Mr. Dempsey said 15% of the country’s energy needs would come from renewable energy sources by 2010, compared to a rate of 5% in 2004. “By the end of this year, we will have more than doubled the capacity of new clean green technologies connected to the electricity network. The projects I have announced today will bring us closer to the target to treble the contribution of renewable energy sourced electricity from 5% in 2004 to 15% by 2010 — a significant growth rate by any comparison,” said Mr. Dempsey last week. The minister was announcing allocations of support under the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT) programme, which will result in 55 new renewable powered electricity generating plants. He said this additional capacity will bring the available electricity production capacity harnessing renewable energy resources up from 860MW to 1,469MW, capable of generating power for one million homes. The minister said this initiative would reduce the country’s increasing carbon dioxide emissions and improve the situation regarding security of energy supplies. Ireland is currently 12% above its carbon emission target under the Kyoto Protocol. Ireland is also twice as dependant on imported oil, gas and coal, buying in 90% of the national fuel needs, compared to an EU average of 50%. Mr. Dempsey said this initiative would help address the twin problems of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel security. “If we are to meet our Kyoto obligations and reduce our dependence on fuel imports we must maximize the contribution made by green electricity. This new programme is a major step towards delivering Ireland’s commitments and reducing our dependence on volatile imported fossil fuel prices.” The minister said the new capacity would prevent the emission of more than two million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually. He said 350 new full-time jobs would be created, as well as 1,600 construction jobs over a three-year building phase. He said the programme would mean that four million fewer barrels of oil would be imported every year. This would also mean more than Euro100 million [U.S. $127 million] previously spent on imports would be redirected back into the Irish economy. Story reprinted with permission from
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