Concerns have been raised that a proposed EU cap on the price of energy could put Ireland’s efforts to expand its renewable energy sector “at risk”.
Following the Kremlin’s decision to invade Ukraine, countries across the bloc have tried to reduce their dependence on Russian fossil fuels. As a result, energy prices across Europe have soared and millions have been plunged into fuel poverty.
The idea of a price cap has been floated ahead of a meeting of EU energy ministers this week but Don Moore, Chair of the Energy and Climate Action Committee, cautioned that while he could see the “attraction” behind the policy, he also believed that it “could put our ambitious renewable programme at risk.”
“These [renewable] projects are typically financed by borrowings repaid by revenues earned over a 15 to 20 year period,” he continued.
“And changing the rules as proposed by the EU sends the wrong signal and could discourage investment.
“So we need to be cautious about unintended consequences here.
“And I have to say, Ireland has enough obstacles to future generation investments with our dysfunctional planning system.”
The Government’s Climate Action Plan means Ireland is legally committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and that means there should be a 51% emissions cut by 2030.
To achieve this, the Government wants seven fully operational offshore wind farms by the end of the decade and Mr Moore said it was essential that Ireland remains an attractive place for renewable countries to do business in:
“We are in competition for investment and most of the companies who will be building this 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy, they’re not Irish companies in the main,” he continued.
“They have other places to go to.
“So all I’m saying is, let’s be cautious about it. I suspect it will go through in some form but it could have negative consequences for us and we have to face up to that.”
Main image: Engineers climbing wind turbine at offshore wind farm. Picture by: Alamy.com