FF Criticise Govt's Energy White Paper

Fianna Fáil has criticised the government's new energy White Paper, which was released on Wednesday and lays out a plan to reduce Ireland's carbon emissions by up to 90% by 2050.

The party's spokesperson on energy, Michael Moynihan, said that the white paper contains aspirational goals but lacks detail or specifics on how to achieve these targets.

"This long awaited white paper follows on from the 2007 energy white paper that a Fianna Fáil led government introduced – the first in 30 years at the time, which set out a roadmap to securing both long-term energy security and a low carbon future for Ireland," Deputy Moynihan said.

"The clock is ticking on Ireland meeting our EU 2020 renewables targets with figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) showing that 8.6% of Ireland's total energy demand was met by renewable energy in 2014. Ireland will face fines estimated by SEAI to be in the range of €100 – €150 million for each percentage point we fall short of the overall 16% binding renewable energy target by 2020.

"I welcome the fact that the white paper commits to diversifying our renewables portfolio to solar, offshore wind, and ocean energies – something I have constantly called for. Wind alone does not guarantee security of supply while it is heavily subsidised, which consumers foot in their electricity bills.

"Alarmingly, Ireland has the third highest electricity prices among the 28 EU member states, despite the fact that following big decreases in global oil prices, they are now at an eleven year low.

"Regrettably, there is an absence of tangible actions in the White Paper to reform the Commission for Energy Regulation to reduce costs in the energy sector to reflect the needs of Ireland's consumers and enhance Ireland's competitiveness as Fianna Fáil have repeatedly proposed.

"There are a number of items where questions remain in this paper with vague commitments to "new structures and processes to enhance citizen and community participation. Fianna Fáil has proposed establishing a legislative framework for our future energy infrastructure which will build community consensus and respect the concerns of the public.

"I am also concerned that the door has been left over for future fracking activity, which my party opposes. Concerns also remain on how Ireland will meet the 2020 target of 50,000 electrical vehicles, considering there is only around 1100 in the current EV fleet.

"Finally, it is of great concern that no concrete proposals were presented for the future of Moneypoint power station considering its current configuration will end in 2025. I have constantly recommended exploring the idea of converting this coal power plant to biomass over an extended period. Certainty and policy direction at government level is severely lacking here – something that is broadly reflected throughout this paper."


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