Articles filed under Energy Policy from Ireland
“We need to think very deeply about whether our current strategy of renewable energy is going to make it. We’ve got to be prepared to rethink certain things. ...The amount of impact on our land in terms of solar photovoltaic cells and windmills, it’s such a huge amount of ground that you have to dedicate to these renewable resources, is it really practical?”
The report estimates tens of millions are lost every year by wind farms because of 'dispatch down', a technical term which refers to what happens when EirGrid, as the transmission system operator, turns off or reduces the amount of power a wind farm can produce for grid stability reasons.
The most common grounds for complaint in Germany is the protection of birds and bats, which can be endangered by wind turbines. Procedural mistakes, monument protection, noise pollution, health effects and the effects on the local landscape are other common reasons why wind farms are objected to in the EU's largest country. "It is worrying when you think how urgent the need to expand renewable energy is," says Canning. Yet there are many people around Europe who passionately disagree with him.
Ireland faces fines of €600m a year from the EU for failing to meet renewable energy targets and cutting carbon emissions by 2020.
The wind industry continues to operate a ruthless cloak-and-dagger, divide-and-conquer strategy. “Community gain funds” and payouts have resulted in disharmony and disagreement among neighbours, sometimes causing major family fallouts. Turbine construction is governed by out-dated planning guidelines ...which allow them just 500m from homes, sometimes resulting in devastating consequences for families.
New Cabinet minister Denis Naughten says further public consultation is needed on the issue of wind turbines.
But Mr Kelly said he is confident that the government will produce details of a new set back distance for wind turbines prior to the General Election. The new rules are expected to increase the minimum distance between turbines and private residences. The current distance is 500m.
The recommendation for Northern Ireland to revamp its whole approach to wind farms is “long overdue”, according to campaigners. They were reacting to a major report by Stormont’s environment committee this week, which called for a tightening up of planning rules around such developments.
While the crashing to earth of turbines might have damaged wind energy’s image, opposition is much more deep-seated and points to environmental, societal and health impacts and questions the economic benefits, writes Noel Baker.
U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said more work is needed to conclude a renewable-power trading pact with Ireland after prime ministers of the two nations met.
A change in EU policy which has scaled back mandatory renewable energy targets from 2020 has also changed the emphasis from wind energy. “Energy is now top of the agenda in the UK. The British government policy on energy is in an absolute state of dysfunction. There is a battle between the two parties [Conservatives and Liberal Democrats],” the negotiator said.
The slow pace of negotiations between Ireland and Britain over plans to build 40 windfarms across the Midlands has derailed the project. The scheme, which envisaged thousands of wind turbines across five counties, will now be put on hold.
An agreement between the Irish and British governments to permit power to traded between the two countries is now unlikely to go ahead, effectively shelving scores of windfarms across the midlands region. The lack of agreement will be good news to residents who had mounted huge opposition to the plans in areas where large-scale wind farms were due to be developed.
Environmentalists say targets for renewables, energy savings and the climate are all essential and have been proved to work. But energy suppliers argue that generous subsidies for renewable sources have distorted the market, while they have had to close down gas-fired power plants because they cannot compete. "The risk of black-outs has never been higher."
It is "far too soon" to make final judgments on which of the export-orientated windfarm projects now being mooted will be approved and under what terms. "There is no fait accompli at this stage. None of this has reassured objectors, who are concerned about the noise and visual impact of onshore turbines and also see the export of wind energy to Britain as equivalent to "selling the family silver".
Failure to meet the deadline will result in non-compliance costs potentially amounting to between €100m and €150m per year, for each percentage shortfall in renewable energy, and a further €250m in emissions permit purchases.
Ireland's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, and the UK's energy secretary Edward Davey signed a memorandum of understanding to move forward plans to allow Irish wind farms to export electricity to Britain.
A change to the curtailment rules introduced towards the end of last year means that instead of all wind generators being asked to reduce their electricity production, newer wind farms will have to bear the burden of curtailment, which in turn will affect their ability to generate revenues.
A forthcoming report by the Irish Academy of Engineers (IAE) expresses alarm at the lack of any comprehensive analysis of the costs of the country's current energy policy, while multinationals and other businesses remain deeply concerned about the potential costs of the Government's commitment to generating 40 per cent of our electricity from wind power.
The wind farmers sell on the electricity to the big electricity companies, who have the potential to reap enormous profits. Under the REFIT scheme, big electricity companies are under no obligation to pass on any of these profits to electricity customers in the form of reduced bills.