Ireland can reduce emissions and fuel imports through wind energy, participants at the European Commission Representation in Ireland’s Roadshow on Energy and the Environment in Sligo heard recently.

Dave Linehan from Wind Energy Ireland and Mairéad Hogan from ESB outlined the future of wind energy in Ireland and the further potential in harnessing wind energy to drive the change required for the climate transition. 

Addressing the audience in Atlantic Technological University Sligo, Dave Linehan, head of research at Wind Energy Ireland said: “Wind energy provided 47% of Ireland’s electricity in October 2022, making it the country’s chief source of electricity.

"That is Irish generators producing power without burning imported fossil fuels, which means we can cut our carbon emissions at the same time as we cut our fuel imports, reducing consumer bills.

'Good opportunity'

"This was a good opportunity to discuss how we can accelerate the development of our own, indigenous, sources of renewable energy to meet our carbon emissions targets and to protect consumers in the current decade and beyond.”

Mairéad Hogan, senior environmental consultant at ESB's Oweninny wind farm said:  “ESB has set out a clear roadmap to deliver net zero by 2040 and wind energy, both onshore and offshore, is at the centre of this. I believe we have a huge opportunity to unlock our renewable energy potential in Ireland and Oweninny wind farm, which was developed in a sensitive environment, is playing its part in meeting our renewable energy targets.”

Will Woodrow, divisional director Woodrow, vice president (Ireland) Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management highlighted the importance of environmental and ecological considerations: “Timely consent for renewables projects is crucial to achieving our renewables targets in Ireland and, increasingly, for energy security as our reliance on home-grown renewables increases.  

"A key consideration in the consents process is environmental, and notably ecological, impact of proposals. The importance of covering ecological considerations properly and at an early stage is key in order to avoid delays, either by planning delays or refusals, or challenges from third parties.

"Ecological impact is therefore not only important for the environmental sustainability credentials of proposals, but its proper and timely consideration is central to ensuring a consents timeline and, ultimately, energy security.”

The event was organised by the European Commission Representation in Ireland with the support of European Movement Ireland and moderated by European Movement Ireland deputy CEO, Stephen O’Shea.

It forms part of a series of roadshow events that are being organised around the country focused on the impact of energy on rural communities and on the economy in the context of the EU’s REPowerEU plan.

The discussion is available to watch online