Ireland won’t meet wind energy export agreement with UK by 2020, says Government

14 Apr 2014

Talks regarding the export of energy from 1,000 wind turbines in Ireland’s midlands to the UK by 2020 have broken down, said Pat Rabbitte, TD, Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

It had originally been hoped that the two governments could reach the agreement, which would result in the construction of the turbines with the help of Irish energy companies Bord na Móna, Element Power and Mainstream. These turbines were expected to generate about 1GW of electricity that would have been connected to the UK and exported.

Both Ireland and the UK have signed European 2020 environmental agreements to have 20pc of their energy created by renewable means by that year.

In the statement released yesterday evening, Rabbitte said, “I regret that it has not been possible at this time to conclude an agreement as envisaged. However, I believe that in the context of an European Internal Market and greater integration, greater trade in energy between Britain and Ireland is inevitable in the post-2020 scenario.”

The breakdown in talks has received criticism from those involved with encouraging the renewable-energy technology, including Ireland’s Green Party’s leader, Eamon Ryan, who believes that the decision shows the current Government is not interested in making a bigger commitment to creating more clean energy.

“What we have now in Irish energy politics is short-term, populist thinking gone awry,” Ryan said. “There is no interest in the climate challenge we face. There is no discussion of how exposed we are to rising fossil-fuel prices.

“There is no understanding that the growth of this new, clean-energy economy is inevitable, and that delaying its development here is going to do us nothing but harm. Once again, our Government is ensuring that Ireland will be playing catch up, instead of leading from the front in the 21st-century economy.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic