Govt says low-carbon society is ‘greatest project of our age’

3 Jun 2015

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD, has said that our efforts to transition to a low-carbon society by 2050 will be the “greatest project of our age”, citing many challenges along the way.

Speaking at the final consultation before the Government publishes its energy White Paper later this year, the Minister warned that to reach our ideal low-carbon society targets, the limit of capital spending will hinder future governments’ ability to invest in the required renewable energy infrastructure.

“We will be constrained by the availability of capital and other resources,” said Minister White. “Some of our decisions will involve costs as well as benefits. We will be presented with many difficult choices as we juggle the sometimes conflicting priorities of affordability, sustainability and energy security.”

It will now be up to the Government to inform the general public of the need for this expansion and he described the Government’s requirement to “aggressively target energy efficiency”.

Speaking of the country’s renewable energy rollout so far, Minister White said he felt that while improvements had been made with regard to onshore wind-energy generation, we have limited ourselves to one facet of the technology for too long.

“[Onshore wind energy] has served us well, and it will continue to do so,” said the Minister. “But the next period of energy transition will also see the development of new commercial and late-stage solutions, which are likely to change the mix of renewables as technologies like solar PV, off-shore wind, and carbon capture and storage mature, and become more cost-effective.”

The Government is finding itself under pressure to meet far-reaching carbon reduction targets, including sourcing 20pc of our energy from renewables by 2020 and having 80pc less carbon emissions by 2050 compared with 1990.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic