Author: Paul Kenny BEC Eng MIEI, CEO of the Tipperary Energy Agency
Our energy supplies are entering a period of significant transition. They are moving from a situation where using cheap fossil fuels was acceptable and climate change and energy security was not a concern, to a future that will include a large portion of renewable energy sources. Governments are taking significant steps to shift from wasteful, carbon-based energy systems to ones that are renewable and efficient. This movement will require significant public and private sector investment. Taxpayers, consumers and investors will need to engage at scale never seen before.
National energy policy is making significant progress in Ireland. Renewable energy has seen growth from 2% from 1990-2004 to 7% in 2012 and it is growing is at 11% per annum over the last three years (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, 2014). While energy efficiency has also increased in Ireland, it will be a challenge to maintain this as the economic growth takes hold and transport energy use increases.
The Irish Government has recognised that one of the biggest challenges is to ‘empower energy citizens’. This will ensure that protests about energy infrastructure and the rising energy costs are met with an educated debate and an accepted strategic plan.