Greens back wind
A combination of Tory opposition and mismanagement by the Irish Government has closed the door on any immediate cross border wind power deal. This is a short term reversal that should not be the end of the road for the idea. Trading electricity with the UK and France still makes sense if we are to meet our climate targets and keep down power costs.
The logic of trading in renewables remains the same. If we are going to meet our climate change commitments, we know we are going to have to create a 100% carbon neutral power system. All recent trends show that renewables will be at the core of this new power system, especially in Ireland, where we have abundant supplies. Interconnection is going to be needed to manage the variability of wind, solar and hydro power. If everyone retreats to their own national markets we are going to see very expensive increases in electricity prices. The European Union has put a regional strategy at the heart of their 2030 climate and energy package, but they seem to have no power over Number 11, Downing Street. The British Chancellor, George Osborne, has set his country on a pro-nuclear and pro-fracking energy future. He doesn’t even want to support renewables across the border in Scotland, let alone anything here.
In Ireland, the Government lost public support for a good idea because of the way they allowed it be introduced. Big companies were signing deals with local farmers in the midlands before anything was decided, dividing communities from the outset. We should use this reversal to start again with a clean slate and a whole new approach to the development of wind power. We need to put community ownership at the heart of whatever happens next. The logic of using former Bord na Mona bogs remains the same. The cost of running a cable underground from there to the UK and France will continue to come down. The need for such a trade will only increase as we set out to meet the 40% emissions reduction target that has been set for 2030.
Leader, Green Party