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EU Climate Deal Gives Further Momentum to Ireland’s Clean Energy Future

24 October, 2014

Potential Commercial Rate Rises on Wind Energy Could Threaten Ability to Deliver on EU Renewable Energy Pledges

The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has today welcomed the European Union deal reached to set landmark new targets for 2030 to tackle climate change by boosting the development of renewable energy, reducing emissions and improving energy savings.

The new EU targets, including a binding renewable energy target of “at least 27%” reaffirms the need for further growth in renewable energy across the continent, and spearheads the EU commitment to tackle climate change, as well as maintaining our European competitive edge in global renewables.

The Global Wind Energy Council this week announced that wind energy is expected to grow globally to 2030, and supply up to 19% of global electricity, create over 2 million new jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 3 billion tonnes per year.  Here in Ireland wind energy is delivering, where last weekend alone 50% of Irish electricity demand was met from wind power and the sector continuing to grow nationally.

Meanwhile, at home, IWEA has warned that the threatened doubling of Irish commercial rates for wind energy could potentially commit Ireland to instant failure in terms of the newly agreed climate agreement. A proposed doubling of rates for wind energy by the Irish Valuation Office significantly threatens the competitiveness of future wind energy projects and challenges investor support for renewables in Ireland in what is a hugely competitive European renewables market.

Commenting on today’s EU summit, Kenneth Matthews, CEO of IWEA said:

“The 16 years from today to 2030 are vital make-or-break years for our climate future. This agreement reaffirms wind and renewable energy as a core tool for breaking down our emissions addiction and fostering green economic growth.

“This EU deal represents a first step. Governments, communities and business leaders need to show the vision, leadership and commitment to ensure climate change is tackled. Words are not enough, joint actions now are the currency of our climate and energy future, as we look towards a global climate deal in Paris in 2015.

“Ireland will benefit hugely from a continued international focus on renewable energy which really plays to our strengths as a nation with huge wind energy opportunities both onshore and offshore. We must be aware however that national economic policy must work hand in hand with climate policy to deliver the 2020 and 2030 targets. The proposed doubling, or more of commercial rates targeting indigenous wind energy shows a lack of climate policy coherence.”

“Ireland may be at the geographic fringe or Europe but armed with this EU package and a global push on renewables we are strongly placed both to tackle our own dependency on imported fuel which stands at over 85% and to continue our role as a European and global leader in renewable energy.”

The EU Agreement backed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny along with his 27 Head of State colleagues comes in the week where Ireland delivered a new wind energy record peak of 1784MW and wind energy records have been broken in the UK where wind out powered nuclear energy and in Denmark where wind met over 100% of consumption allowing them to export excess power.

A recent report by independent energy analysts and economists Poyry Consulting and Cambridge econometrics, advisors to Governments and regulators to both the Irish and UK Governments, highlighted the economic contribution the Irish wind energy sector would make by 2030, showing that it will:

• Deliver €8.3 billion of investment into the Irish economy
• Significantly contribute to economic growth with GDP increasing by between €646m and €769m per annum in the 2021-2030 timeframe.
• Provide at least €1.8bn additional cumulative tax revenue to the Irish State
• Save Ireland €700 million per year in fossil fuel imports and reduce the country’s dependency on energy imports
• Support 22,510 jobs (currently over 3,400 people are employed in wind energy)
• Protect the environment by significantly reducing CO2 emissions to an annual saving of 5.5Mt CO2
• All this will be delivered without leading to additional cost to Irish consumers and delivering an increase to consumer disposable income.


Editor’s Note:

• The Pöyry Consulting and Cambridge Econometrics report entitled “The Value of Wind Energy to Ireland”, published in March 2014 can be found at the following link:

• New wind energy records were set within the last 7 days:
In Ireland – a new wind energy peak was hit on Friday 17th October at 18.45 of 1784MW enough to power 1.15m Irish homes and met 50% of weekend electricity demand between Friday at 6pm and Sunday midnight (Source: EirGrid)

In the UK – Wind power set a new record on Sunday 19th October supplying 24% of the UK’s electricity supply for the entire day and on Tuesday the UK's wind farms generated more power than its nuclear power stations. (Source: UK National Grid Statistics)

In Denmark – Wind power met 101% of national energy demand on Sunday 19th October at 11pm, allowing the export of clean energy to neighbouring countries. (Source: Danish Grid Energinet )

For more information:
Ben Valdimarsson
Tel: 01 4120512

About IWEA

Established in 1993, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) is the national body representing the wind energy sector in Ireland. IWEA is committed to promoting the use of wind energy in Ireland and beyond as an economically viable and environmentally sound alternative to conventional generation and promotes awareness and understanding of wind power as the primary renewable energy resource. IWEA is also dedicated to education and awareness building, and to building the skills base of the renewable energy sector in Ireland. IWEA also supports the development of other renewable technology, particularly marine energy. IWEA has more than 200 members who incorporate all leading industry voices in Ireland. IWEA acts as a central point for information for its membership as well as a voice to promote wind energy to government. IWEA is entirely self-funded and relies on the support of its members.

For more information, please visit www.iwea.com