Ireland is facing a 'serious bottleneck' in meeting ambitious renewable energy targets for 2020 and needs to accelerate the delivery of wind power projects, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).
The association’s chief executive, Dr Michael Walsh cited the latest European figures showing that Ireland was still “very much at the back of the class” in terms of wind installations.
The figures show that just 0.7 per cent of wind capacity in all 27 EU member states was installed here in 2007 - well short of what was needed to meet the target of 40 per cent for renewables by 2020.
“We need to start accelerating project delivery, so we do not end up in a bottleneck as we approach 2020 and miss out on a significant employment opportunity for the Irish economy” - Dr Walsh said.
Noting that Ireland, along with Scotland, has the best wind resources in Europe, he said that with wind energy’s market share of only 1.4 per cent here we are not delivering on anything like our potential.
Given the comparative levels of wind resource, Ireland should be significantly outperforming continental Europe, where wind had an average 6.6 per cent market share (excluding newer EU states).
Dr Walsh said the lack of alternative natural energy resources in Ireland also meant that we were highly sensitive to imported energy prices and this should be an added impetus to expand wind.
At the current rate of installation, he said, it was likely that we would have to bring in companies from abroad to carry out work that Irish companies should have been able to do cheaper and sooner.
The IWEA intends to mark Global Wind Day on June 15th by outlining a road map that would set out a future for the industry and steady increases in activity per year over the next decade.
Seven wind farms will be open to the public on the day and Dr Walsh urged members of the public to visit these.
The Irish Times