Ireland ranked lowest in Europe for renewable energy readiness

2 days ago

Image: © Lukas/Stock.adobe.com

The Energy Transition Readiness Index 2022 has ranked Ireland in joint last, while Finland topped the list.

Ireland has been ranked joint lowest of 13 European countries in terms of readiness to make a renewable energy transition.

The Energy Transition Readiness Index 2022 ranked countries on a scale of one to five based on how ready their energy markets are to transition to net-zero carbon emissions.

While Finland bagged the top spot with a full score of five, Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands all got a score of four. Meanwhile, Ireland dropped one point from last year and tied with Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on a score of three.

According to the independent report from the UK’s Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), a score of four and above means that the country has effective energy transition policies that encourage technological innovation and market access

Lower ranking countries, on the other hand, present barriers to investment through existing policies and rules that are complex and slow to evolve.

“Despite impressive progress from a number of European countries, warm words from many governments around Europe are not being matched by action when it comes to preparing for the energy transition,” said REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska.

“We now need to see significant action to remove the barriers facing our industry. Proper long-term planning, prioritising and accelerating market reforms, and urgently addressing current investment barriers – all are desperately needed to help put us on the right path.”

Why so low?

Ireland has set out a plan to reach a 51pc reduction in emissions by 2030, setting the country on a path to net-zero emissions no later than 2050. But the country’s low performance in this ranking has been attributed to two primary factors.

The first is the country’s failure to allow low or zero-carbon projects to connect to the national grid. The report highlighted that this is delaying Ireland’s transition to renewable energy, noting that the situation is “becoming increasingly critical”.

Electric vehicles is another area in where Ireland is lagging compared to its European counterparts. It received the lowest score of any country when it came it EV charging infrastructure – tying with Poland – with roll-out described as “slow” and “limited”.

With approximately 1,900 charging points installed across Ireland at present, the report noted that there’s a long way to go. The EU expects 3m public chargers to be needed to meet the 30m EVs on the road target by 2030.

Ireland aims to reach nearly 1m EVs by the end of the decade, and may need to install 100,000 chargers within the coming years to meet that target.

“As a global power management company, we know that businesses around the world are embracing the opportunities presented by net zero and accordingly, they are investing in renewable energy technologies,” said Phil Kane, country manager of Eaton Ireland, which co-sponsored the report.

“Yet, in Ireland, this palpable enthusiasm must now be matched with practical policy solutions – such as allowing zero-carbon, energy efficient assets to connect to our national grid, without delay.

“This is especially true in the case of EV charging where it is imperative that both industry and Government works collaboratively to create a robust regulatory framework, that will unlock much-needed investment and boost consumer confidence in green mobility.”

Renewable attractiveness

Despite the latest report, Ireland is on good standing when compared with the rest of the world in terms of being an attractive location for renewables.

An EY report published today (24 November) ranked Ireland 13th out of the world’s top 40 markets on the attractiveness of renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities.

“When adjusted for GDP, Ireland punches far above its weight, climbing the rankings to 6th place – reflecting that we are very attractive for renewable energy development for the scale of our marketplace,” said Stephen Prendiville, head of sustainability at EY Ireland.

“Ireland’s strong showing on EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index reflects our robust market for onshore wind, and continued growth prospects for offshore wind and solar projects.”

Yesterday, Microsoft announced renewable energy contracts that are expected to contribute up to 30pc of Ireland’s corporate power purchase agreement target by 2030.

It has entered into agreements related to the development of more than 900MW of onshore wind and solar energy projects across Ireland, and also aims to power its data centres in the country with 100pc renewable energy by 2025.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com