Published: Thu, 07 October 2021
“Rising energy prices and energy security is a growing concern across Europe. This is of critical importance for Ireland, likely facing a 30% increase in demand in the next decade. There is genuine concern for the impact on our citizens and businesses across Europe. Today in the European Parliament we will look at possible European solutions with the Council and the Commission.” Kelly said
“We have a responsibility to every citizen to work in their best interests, that means switching to clean energy but also keeping the lights on with transitional fuels in the meantime. How Member States handle the energy transition will determine both our economic future and the social cohesion of the entire European Union. We cannot allow a situation where the most vulnerable are left with rising energy costs, nor can we strangle our economy as we equip ourselves with green energy. Member States must pay particular attention to those in danger of energy poverty.” Kelly went on to say.
Speaking ahead of the crucial debate in the European Parliament, Kelly said: “In Ireland, permitting requirements for renewable energy projects are a major obstacle. I call on the Government to streamline renewable projects procedures, particularly for offshore wind, so that we can move to an energy system in line with our climate goals. Ireland is committed to achieving 80% renewable energy, there is no time to lose. The Renewable Energy Directive includes several provisions that simplify permitting processes, but Member States must do more to fast track positive energy projects.”
“Furthermore, we will not reach our renewables targets without significant investment in the grid infrastructure across the country, particularly in West Cork, Kerry and Clare. These coastal communities all have significant potential to shape the renewable energy market, with the advent of both hydrogen and off-shore wind and even some tidal. If we are to fully reap the benefits of the renewable energy potential in these regions, improved grid interconnections and storage solutions are necessary”, he said.
“By their very nature, wind and solar are intermittent. Therefore, we must plan to replace our fossil-fuel based back-up system with battery storage and demand response, as well as green hydrogen, but we also cannot hide from the fact that there still is a role to play for transitional fuels until then. Retrofitting gas generation plants to run on hydrogen and ensuring that any new plants designed to make conversion easy will be key in this transition. Ireland needs a Hydrogen Strategy to properly plan for this”, he added.
“The future is green but it must only be achieved with a just transition with our citizens at its centre,” Kelly concluded.