Energy Minister Alex White has described Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon society by 2050 as “one of the greatest projects of our age”. White was speaking in Dublin today (June 3) at the final public consultation session before the publication of an energy White Paper in the autumn. White warned about the challenges of realising the low-carbon society vision: “We will be constrained by the availability of capital and other resources. Some of our decisions will involve costs as well as benefits. We will be presented with many difficult choices as we juggle the sometimes conflicting priorities of affordability, sustainability and energy security.” According to White, community concerns about the development of new energy infrastructure would be dealt with sensitively in future. The forthcoming White Paper would “set out a new direction in which we will listen to citizens, respect their concerns and give them an ongoing opportunity to input into policy development and implementation. The onus will be on the State and industry to demonstrate the need for new projects and to clearly explain complex technical issues.” He said communities that host energy infrastructure should receive “commensurate benefits”. Turning to the renewables sector, the minister said onshore wind had served Ireland well and will continue to do so. “But the next period of energy transition will also see the development of new commercial and late-stage solutions, which are likely to change the mix of renewables as technologies like solar PV, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage mature, and become more cost-effective,” he said. White said employment opportunities would continue to arise from the development of new technologies to mitigate carbon emissions. He said his department was working closely with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation “to launch the European Energy Innovation Hub to develop technologies and capture their enterprise and employment potential”. The minister noted the importance of improved interconnectivity during the transition process, including through projects like the North-South transmission line project. He said this interconnectivity would be facilitated by the recently initiated EU Energy Union initiative. Along with ongoing co-operation with fellow member states in projects like the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative, this would ensure that Ireland’s energy transition was steady and stable.