Ireland must install 936 MW of green power capacity by 2010, including 867 MW of wind turbines. To reach the target of 13.2% from renewables by the end of 2009, it must install 1,433 MW of renewables, of which 1,100 MW should be wind, 240 MW hydro, 92 MW of bioenergy and 1 MW of tidal energy, says Sustainable Energy Ireland in its report, “˜Renewable Energy Development 2006.’ By late 2004, generating capacity was 497 MW, of which 233 MW was wind, 240 MW hydro, 26 MW bioenergy and 0 MW from tidal.
The minimum capacity gap to 2010 is 936 MW, of which 867 MW is from wind, 66 MW from biomass, 1 MW from tidal and less than 1 MW from hydro. “Increasing the contribution of renewable sources and high efficiency CHP (cogeneration) in Ireland’s energy supply is a key objective of national energy policy,” the report explains. “Ireland is rich in potential renewable energy resources but, to date, success in delivering these resources as viable, economic energy supply has been limited.”
Growth in recent years, particularly in wind energy deployment, “has been strong and there is now a firm base of expertise and experience in the sector oÂn which stronger future growth can be built,” it adds. “Renewable energy deployment fits with a range of policy imperatives across many areas; it has clear environmental benefits and helps meet our international environmental commitments; it reduces reliance oÂn imported fuels, reducing dependence and bringing associated economic benefits; it can align with waste policy, agricultural policy and rural development, as well as building Ireland’s capacity and competence in a business sector growing strongly around the globe.”
While most of Ireland’s 2010 target for green power “is likely to be met by wind energy deployment, other renewables will become increasingly important beyond 2010 in meeting future targets,” of which ocean energy (both wave and marine current tidal) is oÂne. “The resource, particularly the wave energy resource, is potentially very large; however, the challenge now is to develop commercially attractive, highly reliable, integrated systems.”
Ocean energy may be deployed in small-scale demonstrations by 2010, but is not expected to contribute significantly to Ireland’s electricity supply before 2020. Ireland possesses some of the greatest potential wave power resources in Europe, with a potential market as large as offshore wind.
In theory, wave energy could generate all of Ireland’s electricity and tidal could supply 6% of demand. To date, national agencies have provided Euro 1.2 million in grants to the industry but “a more sustained long-term commitment is required to enable ocean energy to contribute to renewable energy supply in the next decade.” The development of ocean energy technologies can be accelerated by increasing the capacity for research and development, and a “structured and phased strategy of development supports may enable Ireland to begin to utilize its ocean energy resource within a decade.”
Using offshore wind as a reference market, the value of a domestic market for ocean energy in Ireland is estimated at Euro 180 million by 2020 and 780 million by 2025, with additional CO2 reduction benefits valued at 2 million and 10 million, respectively. By securing 20% of the European export market, Irish developers could bring Euro 360 million to the economy by 2020, create 600 jobs, which would increase to Euro 1,590 million and 1,300 jobs by 2025.
“Bioenergy is an environmentally and strategically important sector for Ireland to develop” and the government should publish “a clear statement of policy supporting bioenergy, including ambitious targets and an integrated strategy for delivery,” the report recommends. In a mid-range projection, bioenergy uptake could represent contributions to total primary energy requirement of 3.4% by 2010 and 4.8% by 2020, but “supports are required to kick-start the bioenergy market” and support for electricity production is “best linked to output through price support, with feed-in tariffs being recommended.”
“A sustainable energy economy depends oÂn both efficiency in the supply and consumption of energy and in the substantial deployment of renewable sources,” it concludes. “Technological development must be facilitated by the correct market design that includes policy and regulatory frameworks and informational supports.”
“Support measures are also appropriate where market barriers prevent the deployment of technologies with wider economic and social benefits,” and the sustainable energy agenda cuts across many disciplines and policy areas and “responses must also cut across such borders and be based oÂn multi-stakeholder dialogue and action,” it states. “The structures are now in place for future work to take place in an integrated and co-ordinated manner; as the pace of work increases, it will be this co-operation and integration that underpins the potential impacts of new policy, strategy and support measures.”
The report recommends that there be “good alignment between the grid connection application process, current or future support mechanisms and wider renewable energy policy” and that the financial implications of renewable energy deployment for developers and consumers should be carefully considered and fully costed. All relevant government bodies should work in a co-ordinated and concerted manner to identify and implement solutions to overcome barriers to deployment, and the industry “must be proactive in addressing the challenges faced and needs to act responsibly with regard to both support measures and the connection process so as to maximize the penetration of renewable energy in Ireland.”
Sustainable Energy Ireland, formerly the Irish Energy Centre, was created by government in 2002 as Ireland’s national energy agency, with a mission to promote and assist the development of sustainable energy. It is funded by the National Development Plan 2000-2006, with programs funded partly by the European Union.
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