According to the IWEA this investment will occur over the next four years. The figures, which were revealed at IWEA’s Annual Conference held recently in Dublin, show that the wind energy sector is also set to invest €162million in local advisory services and €54million in transport. IWEA says landowners are also in line for €108million of investment as wind energy companies seek to acquire suitable land and lease contracts for their projects.
Entitled ‘Energy Matters’, the conference heard that 300MW of wind energy needs to be installed each year to avoid Ireland falling behind on meeting its 40% renewable electricity target.
Brendan Heneghan, Interim CEO of IWEA, said, “The investment numbers we’re highlighting at the conference only relate to the required wind energy to meet Ireland’s 2020 targets. However, if we were to develop more wind energy, for example to meet the growing electricity demand from data centres, Ireland would be in line for further investment and reap other side benefits such as lower electricity prices for both domestic and industrial consumers.”
Speakers at the IWEA Conference included Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White; Fintan Slye, Chief Executive, EirGrid; Garrett Blaney, Commissioner, Commission for Energy Regulation; Dr Frank McGovern, Head of Climate Change Research and Science, EPA; and Kristian Ruby, Chief Policy Officer, European Wind Energy Association.
Speakers at the event also talked about how the incoming Government must act decisively to create certainty around Ireland’s energy policy and regulatory environment and underline its commitment to the recent White Paper on Energy, otherwise it risks losing out on significant investment in renewable energy and face into significant EU fines.
Ireland is just over halfway towards meeting its renewable energy targets and failure to meet the EU’s Climate and Energy targets by the 2020 deadline will result in non-compliance penalties, potentially amounting to between €100million and €150million per year for each percentage shortfall in renewable energy and a further €250m in emissions permit purchases. In a new document launched at the conference, IWEA set out the key energy challenges and priorities for the new Government to maintain momentum and sustain an environment that continues to attract direct investment in renewable energy, whilst also maximising the contribution of wind energy development to the economy and local communities.
- Eliminating contradictory approaches through better joined up thinking and coordination between Government departments and state agencies.
- Examining and progressing opportunities for communities to take a more direct involvement in renewable energy projects locally.
- Promoting the understanding of clean energy use in communities.
- Creating clarity and certainty around future support mechanisms to ensure continued investment in Irish clean energy such as wind, solar, other renewables and supporting technologies.
- Maintaining a clear voice for local authorities on planning local energy infrastructure whilst ensuring that local planning is interlinked with regional and national objectives.
- Encouraging and incentivising the take up of local renewable energy microgeneration and the autoproduction of renewable energy, whereby local companies produce their own electricity on-site.
- Creating stronger Governmental accountability and clear responsibility for sustainable and inclusive grid infrastructure delivery to enable Ireland achieve its EU climate change targets.
Commenting, Brendan Heneghan said: ““The energy challenges Ireland currently faces could be compounded by our largest energy trading partner leaving the EU and the energy choices made by our incoming Government will impact long beyond its political term. Vision, clear leadership, policy certainty and long-term commitment will see Ireland overcome these challenges, realise a great economic opportunity and allow us to deliver a cleaner, secure and more sustainable energy future for our communities and our children.”