Chambers Ireland, the voice of business throughout Ireland, has welcomed the today’s launch by the government of the Climate Action Plan 2021, but is concerned about the State’s capacity to deliver on our renewable energy potential.
Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said:
“We need to see action on climate change. The time for incrementalism has long since passed. Government needs to deliver action on the policy areas that are holding us back.
“The aims of the Climate Action Plan 2021 are good, but we have concerns about the Government’s credibility when it comes to putting these plans into action.
“This morning’s announcement by Equinor that they are stopping their offshore wind activities in Ireland, is disappointing but not surprising. There are questions about the capacity of our administrative institutions when it comes to creating a regulatory regime which can support offshore renewable energy projects, and the revised National Development Plan.
“It is fifteen years since the Arklow bank project ran aground, and the Oireachtas has spent almost nine years trying and failing to create legislation to permit offshore wind projects. We have known what we need to do for a long time, but we actually need to do it.
“Our planning system needs reform. It must be resourced sufficiently so that it can deliver quality decisions fairly. There needs to be expanded capacity to ensure that nationally important projects can be completed on a timescale that will allow for the necessary upgrades of our electrical transmission networks, our transport networks, and our water networks if we are to be able to cope with the challenges that climate change will place on us.
“Planning system reform is also needed if we are to limit the impact we are having on our environment. The ambition of our Climate Action Plan 2021 needs to be accompanied by capacity building within the appropriate departments and agencies.
“Progress must be made on offshore renewable energy legislation, we have some of the best wind energy resources available on the globe, but our legal regime is holding us back.
“Our offshore resources are abundant. Our seas can supply our island with at least ten times the electricity that we consume today and more than double the total amount of energy that we consume across all sources. With technological innovation achieving even higher efficiencies, renewables could be supplying Ireland with as much clean electricity as France produces today.
“With the right regulatory and legislative framework, Ireland will play a major role in Europe’s climate action plans, while also making the improvement of the global environment the business of Ireland.”
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