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.
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, and where possible we must endeavour to source our energy from our own renewable resources, reducing our reliance on imported energy.
The Programme for Government commits to a transformational programme of research and development, to ensure that Ireland is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation in meeting our climate change targets, including 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.
Wind energy provides an emissions free, clean and renewable energy source. Wind energy is currently the largest contributing resource of renewable energy in Ireland, providing more than 80% of Ireland’s renewable electricity and 36% of the total electricity demand in 2020. Ireland’s location at the Atlantic edge of Europe gives us more offshore energy potential than most other European countries and Ireland’s maritime area is seven times the size of its landmass.
The Maritime Area Consent system, launched in March 2022, is a planning framework for the sea and will enable an acceleration of our transition to renewable energy through offshore wind power. 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.
Renewable Electricity Support Scheme
The primary support for wind energy is the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The RESS is an auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate. To achieve our target of achieving up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030 target set by the 2021 Climate Action Plan, up to 8 GW onshore and 5 GW offshore wind must be connected to the grid by 2030.
The RESS also aims to deliver other policy objectives for renewable energy such as supporting and incentivising communities to engage with and have ownership of renewable projects. The scheme will increase the diversity of renewable technologies, the number and scale of projects receiving support, and will provide opportunities for solar PV, bioenergy and wind all within a cost competitive framework.
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.
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 our clean green energy revolution. The microgeneration scheme, introduced by Minister Eamon Ryan, has seen more than 20,000 electricity customers already signed up to sell power from their solar panels back to the national grid.
Microgeneration has an important role to play in empowering and driving engagement and participation. It creates opportunities for domestic, community, farming and small commercial customers to take the first steps towards investment in renewable technologies, which can play a role in shaping electricity demand and decarbonising homes and businesses. If you want to generate renewable electricity for your home, you may be eligible for a grant to install solar panels, or to connect your existing system to the grid.
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.