Ireland’s future lies in renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, that minimises environmental damage, creates Green jobs and provides us with secure and affordable energy.
The Green Party believes Ireland’s future lies in renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, that minimises environmental damage, creates Green jobs and provides us with secure and affordable energy. The Climate Action Plan sets out a roadmap for Ireland with the targets and measures necessary to meet our commitments to halve our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. We must ensure that we can provide our country with reliable, economically competitive energy sourced from our own renewable resources. Expanding and incentivising microgeneration through roof-top solar energy, green hydrogen, wave technology and developing floating offshore wind turbines to take advantage of the Atlantic coastline will help us achieve our climate goal and reduce our reliance on imported energy.
We have a long way to go. As of now, 86% of Ireland’s energy needs across transport, heating and electricity are still met using fossil fuels.
When the Green Party was last in Government, we introduced policies and incentives to support the wind energy sector. Today wind energy provides more than 80% of Ireland’s renewable electricity, which not only reduces carbon emissions but also lowers the price of electricity. More wind on our power system lowers electricity bills.
In this Government, the Green Party has delivered;
- Financial supports for energy bills: A payment of €200 to all electricity customers to help with increasing energy bills.
- Increases in fuel allowances and social welfare payments to combat fuel poverty among the most vulnerable households.
- Completed two renewable energy auctions (RESS) committing over 2,000 MW of new wind and solar generation, and plans to hold frequent auctions including the first auction for offshore wind.
- The first grid scale solar farm was connected to the national grid in early 2022 in Wicklow.
- Support for the first time for community owned renewable energy in Ireland, and a commitment in the Climate Action Plan to support 500 MW of community owned renewable energy, ensuring people and communities can be part of our energy transition and reap the benefits of our renewable resources.
- The Maritime Area Planning Act was passed with Deputy Steven Matthews in the chair of the Oireachtas Committee. This Act establishes a new regulatory authority for the marine and for the first time establishes a consenting and licensing process for offshore wind energy generation. The first of these new farms beginning to generate power in the next 4 years, together generating 5 gigawatts of power by the end of the decade.
- In March 2022, Minister Eamon Ryan invited the first batch of offshore wind projects to apply for Maritime Area Consents. The first of these new offshore farms will be located off the east coast and will begin generating clean energy over the next 4 years, with 5 GW of offshore power planned for 2030.
Solar power has massive potential in Ireland for domestic and commercial scale energy production. The sun delivers more energy to earth in an hour than is used worldwide in a year.
Microgeneration- rooftop solar power
If someone chooses to put solar panels in their home as part of an energy upgrade or new build, they can now get paid for every unused unit of power they put back onto the grid. Solar power has massive potential in Ireland for domestic and commercial scale energy production. Every rooftop in Ireland, in every home, school, farm building or community centre can play a part in climate action and achieving energy independece.
Our Green Party Senators (Pauline O'Reilly, Róisín Garvey, Vincent P Martin and Min. Pippa Hackett) introduced a bill to remove planning restrictions for farms, community buildings and businesses when installing solar panels, removing burdensome red tape to ensure communities can benefit fully from installing solar panels on their roofs. New regulations are forthcoming.
- Minster Eamon Ryan has introduced the first realistic plan to decarbonise our heating sector and reduce fossil fuel use in heating.
- In January 2022, Minster Ryan introduced the new Home Energy Upgrade scheme with unprecedented support, through grants, low cost loans or free upgrades for eligible homes to install home insulation and new heating systems. A network of “One stop shops” help homeowners understand what they can do in their home to make them warmer, healthier and cheaper to run. Our target to upgrade 500,000 homes is ambitious and will create thousands of new green jobs in the construction sector.
- In May 2022, Minster Eamon Ryan established the first District Heating Steering Group to co-ordinate the roll out of policies and measures to enable renewable district heating schemes across Ireland.
Energy efficiency, conservation, sourcing our energy from our own renewable resources, and reducing our reliance on imported energy are key to the transformation to a lower carbon society.