Question to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White, TD)
To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in the context of a national energy policy, if consideration was given to energy conservation as an alternative to additional electricity generation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if consideration was given to the effects on employment and tourism when developing energy policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 16, June, 2015.
The over-arching objective of Ireland’s energy policy is to deliver secure, competitive and sustainable supplies of energy to all consumers. Energy efficiency has a central role to play in meeting this objective. Improving the efficiency with which we use energy is already delivering real environmental, social and economic benefits for Ireland. This is why energy efficiency will be a key element of the Energy White Paper which I will publish in October. The Energy White Paper will set out the strategy for Ireland’s sustainable energy transition. Achieving this transition requires us to meet the challenge of significantly reducing our harmful emissions while ensuring all of our energy needs are met. While the scale of the effort required to do this cannot be met by energy efficiency alone, energy efficiency has a central role to play as part of a range of measure, which must also include increasing our use of renewable energy. Ultimately, energy efficiency measures, whether in heating, in transport, or in use of electricity, along with continued smart grid development, will deliver the means through which demand can be reduced and made more flexible.
Roll out of smart grid technologies will also allow us to increase the levels of renewable electricity generation with consequent benefits for the sustainability of our electricity generation portfolio. This position is fully aligned with both the EU and the International Energy Agency (IEA), which see energy efficiency as critical to facilitating the integration of greater levels of renewable electricity generation and achieving a cost effective transition to a sustainable energy system.
The overarching objective of the Government’s energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers. A new Energy Policy White Paper, which will set out Ireland’s energy policy up to 2030, will be published in October. A very significant public consultation process has just been concluded, the outputs from which will guide the finalisation of the policy options for inclusion in the White Paper. My officials also conducted bilateral engagements with other government departments on the synergies and challenges presented for other sectors, including employment and tourism, in the development of energy policy. In terms of driving economic opportunity, the energy policy vision to be set out in the White Paper will see industry, government and the research community continuing to play their parts in the creation of the skilled labour force that builds and manages the energy efficient and low carbon energy system. That vision is also of strong, innovative and competitive companies, investing and creating employment, while also developing low carbon and energy efficiency technologies, products and services needed by consumers.