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Tariffs could double to meet offshore wind demands

Electricity charges would have to rise by a huge margin to meet the price demands of the offshore wind industry, according to a new lobby group for industry.

At the launch of the National Offshore Wind Association of Ireland (NOW), member firms said to justify investment in offshore wind turbines, the industry would be looking for a tariff of 14c on the unit of electricity, the same as is applied in other European countries.

While this would more than double the cost of electricity to about €140 per KW hour from a current level of between €63 and €65 per KW hour, NOW maintains that the payback would come in the form of lower carbon emissions, starting with the €260m annual cost, which has already been set aside by the Government to cover the purchase of carbon units next year.

The Government needs to buy carbon credits because it will not meet its commitments under the Kyoto accord.

According to members of NOW, there would be no need to buy these credits if Ireland developed its offshore wind potential.

The five members of NOW claim to have projects at an advanced stage of preparation for the development of over 2,000mw of renewable energy in Irish waters at a capital cost of over €4bn.

Brian Britton, a founder member of NOW, said the industry has huge potential to deliver renewable energy.

“Technological development in offshore turbines means that efficiency levels are rising, production capacity is rising and costs are rapidly diminishing,” he said.

“However, investment is currently being hampered due to the lack of a clear and coherent policy on offshore wind.

“This stands in marked contrast to other countries throughout the EU,” Mr Britton added.

Torben Andersen of Airtricity highlighted the importance of offshore wind in terms of addressing Ireland’s long term security of energy supply and cutting fossil fuel use.

Referring to our reliance on gas he said: “Instead of being at the end of the gas pipeline we can be in the forefront of offshore wind deployment.”

– Pat Boyle


21 November 2007