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Failure to meet our 2020 renewable energy and emissions targets could cost the state up to €610 million - Stanley

8 December, 2016 - by Brian Stanley TD

Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment outlined the need for a “Step change” in how Ireland tackles climate change.

Deputy Stanley stated:

“We in Sinn Féin have been consistently concerned with the inadequate approach the Irish Government has taken towards tackling climate change in recent years. We welcome the Ministers delivery of the Annual Transition Statement today.”

“However as we have stated in the past, successive Ministers for the Environment have perpetually failed to follow up statements and plans with tangible delivery.

“We have seen in the past how the Irish Government has made numerous platitudes to tackle Climate Change, however when it comes to action we continuously fall short. Ireland is certain to miss its EU 2020 target of 16% total consumption of energy from renewables.

“The biggest factor in reducing emissions in Ireland over the past decade was the economic crash as opposed to any environmental initiatives taken by our government.

“A recent EPA report has estimated that emissions in 2015 are projected to be 3.7% higher than in 2014, indicating that the economic state of the country is still dictating our carbon footprint.”

“Ireland still heavily relies on fossil fuel for its energy supply, with 85% of total supply currently being imported. In order to tackle climate change, Ireland must produce its own energy from renewable sources.

“A key weakness in Irelands approach to tackling climate change has been successive Governments failures to diversify Irelands generation of electricity to renewable sources. There is scope for encouraging the development of further Solar, Hydro, Wave and Tidal energy output on this island.”

“However the approach so far has been an over reliance on large scale Wind Turbine developments, originally designed for producing energy for export.

“Sinn Féin believes that the best way to develop renewable energy is in conjunction with communities and the Semi-State sector.

“The future of electricity generation in Ireland will not be a handful of large generation plants, but hundreds or even thousands of smaller generation projects.

“Microgeneration is an area that the current government have yet to take seriously. Microgeneration not only encourages household to become energy conscious citizens, it also aids in reducing the price of a family’s electricity and heating bills.

“The potential economic consequences for Ireland not meeting its targets could be severe. It has been estimated that Ireland could be hit with a bill of up to €610 Million for breaching our 2020 renewable energy and emissions targets."

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