“It is imperative for a modern competitive economy to have reliable, secure and competitively priced energy available to it. Long-term actions and decisions regarding the energy sector must also be sustainable from an environmental perspective in order to provide safeguards for future generations.”
Climate change has become one of the most pressing issues facing both Ireland and the international community. The Stern Report, commissioned by the British Government, has predicted that the cost of combating the effects of climate change are far outweighed by the costs of preventing it. Left unchecked, climate change will undoubtedly plunge the world into economic crisis. Currently, fossil fuels account for 90% of Ireland’s Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES). This year alone saw a rise of 34% in gas prices and nearly 20% in electricity price, placing Ireland amongst the top three most expensive countries for industrial consumers of electricity in Europe. It is projected that Irish energy will continue to grow at 2-3% annually until at least 2020, making it imperative that security and competitiveness of energy is urgently addressed.
While rising energy costs threaten microeconomic competitiveness, Ireland’s failure to meet its Kyoto obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions means that €2-4m will leave the Irish economy every week between 2008 and 2012.
In order to ensure, Security of Energy Supply, Environmental Sustainability and Economic Competitiveness, Ireland must develop secure, indigenous clean energy sources. There is significant potential across a wide range of renewable energy sources, which can be developed from a competitive cost base. In addition to providing a more secure and environmentally sustainable supply of energy, an Irish renewables energy industry could provide new markets for Irish farmers and, create tens of thousands of jobs.
The Green Party urges the government to:
1 Reduce the development costs of renewable energy projects, by allowing the individuals engaged to claim a deduction against their income for tax purposes for the costs of these projects.
2 Provide adequate feed-in fixed price support mechanisms for off-shore wind farms, wave tidal and biomass systems.
3 Move towards mandatory percentage requirement for use of biofuels.
4 Increase investment in sustainable energy development and ensure that the allocated EU funding in this area is properly invested.
5 Follow the Danish example in decision-making regarding energy planning, whereby long-term energy targets are agreed on a cross-party basis with mechanisms for mandatory resetting of policies to meet short targets.
Housing and the construction industry
The Green Party is calling for:
1 Incentives towards increasing the energy efficiency in newly-built and existing housing.
2 The institution of a grant for the insulation of all houses and building which receive a grade D or lower rating for energy efficiency.
3 Extra funding, in the form of capital grants, for the development of eco-friendly housing.
79% of oil used in transport goes into private cars and goods vehicles and only 3% into public transport. Despite the announced increase in spending on public transport infrastructure, it has remained at a much lower level than spending on road building.
1 The Government should prioritise investment in public transport over road building to provide Irish people with a proper public transport alternative.
2 Motor tax and VRT should be abolished on a phased basis, over a five year period. The revenue would be recouped by increasing excise duty on fuel, excluding biofuel. This would ensure that the environmental costs of driving, rather than ownership itself, is taxed.
The Green Party: 16/17 Suffol