Shelving of wind energy export project provides opportunity for proper planning around renewable energy– Brian Stanley TD
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley has today welcomed the government announcement that plans to develop industrial wind farms in the Midlands to export energy to Britain have been shelved.
Speaking after the announcement by Minister Pat Rabbitte, Deputy Stanley said:
“The shelving of the midlands energy export project has now provided a much needed opportunity for the government to follow through on three key issues not addressed in its energy for export plans.
“A cost benefit analysis to show how this country would benefit in terms of its own plans to generate electricity from renewable sources has yet to be published. Sinn Féin wishes to see any cheaper electricity generated used to address fuel poverty. We believe that this would make better economic sense.
“A comprehensive strategy for energy that encompasses all alternative and renewal resources rather than focusing only on wind has to be a priority for the government. We have been promised the publication of a green paper that would allow for discussion around this issue but that has yet to happen. We also believe that too much emphasis is being placed on industrial scale wind farms to the detriment of developing other sources of renewable energy.
“This project was set to go ahead without proper regulation for the construction of wind turbines. This is unacceptable. The guidelines published by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government are clearly inadequate and what is instead required is strict regulation of wind turbine developments.
“Earlier this week the government accepted Sinn Féin’s Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014.
“The bill proposes that a minimum distance of ten times the height of the turbine from any dwelling must be observed and seeks to impose strict setback distances on wind turbine developments. It also required renewable energy that is produced in Ireland to be for the benefit of Irish energy consumers. This bill should form part of the wider debate on energy strategy.”
“I call on the government to begin addressing these issues immediately.”