Published: Wed, 22 November 2023
Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to significantly scale up investment in Europe’s power grids. The plans highlight a comprehensive strategy aimed at modernizing and adapting power grids to accommodate the shift towards renewable energy sources.
“Europe is at a crucial juncture in its energy transition, and the proposed investment in power grids needs to be game-changer,” says Kelly. “The need for a more decentralised, digitalised, and flexible electricity system is evident. The Commission’s focus on supporting projects of common interest and streamlining permitting processes is a step in the right direction.”
The European Union estimates that a staggering 584 billion euros ($637 billion) will be required to upgrade power grids throughout the decade. Many existing grids are outdated and require a shift from traditional fossil fuel models to accommodate the rise of wind and solar power generation.
“I am particularly pleased to see the emphasis on ‘projects of common interest’ status for key electricity projects,” notes Kelly. “This designation will not only expedite the permitting process but also provide access to crucial EU funds. The inclusion of energy storage projects is also a strategic move to ensure a robust and resilient grid.”
Kelly underscores Ireland’s pivotal role in the renewable energy landscape, highlighting the country’s achievements in renewable integration. “Ireland stands out with one of the highest penetration rates of renewable electricity in Europe, showcasing our commitment to a sustainable energy future,” affirms Kelly. He emphasizes Ireland’s capability to accommodate up to 75% renewable energy sources at any given time, positioning the country as a global leader in renewable integration.
“To meet our ambitious 80% renewable energy target by 2030 under the Climate Action Plan, we recognise the strategic importance of our offshore renewable assets,” notes Kelly. He highlights the development of 900MW offshore wind projects along the South Coast, spanning Waterford, Wexford, and Cork. “This initiative holds the potential to power over 600,000 homes with affordable renewable energy, a significant step toward achieving our renewable energy goals.”
Kelly further acknowledges the necessity for new offshore electricity infrastructure, including substations and undersea cables, to seamlessly integrate offshore-generated power into the mainland grid. “The success of these offshore wind projects not only contributes to Ireland’s renewable energy targets but aligns with the broader European Commission’s Grid Action Plan, emphasizing the importance of grid expansion and modernization to accommodate the growing share of renewable energy in our energy mix,” concludes Kelly.