Saturday, 27 June 2015

An open letter to SEAI

Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland are currently preparing a strategic plan to 2020. Submissions, in the form of responses to 4 questions, can be sent in here by 30th June 2015 :

I have been sent the following superbly written response which sets out the path that Ireland now needs to follow to put Ireland's energy policy on a proper sustainable footing. The defintion of sustainable is :

able to be maintained at a certain rate or level  
e.g. "sustainable economic growth"

As this blog and other commentators have shown, the current energy policy is anything but sustainable and will in fact, lead to another economic crash.

An open letter to SEAI

by David Whitehead. BA(Mod. Nat.Sc.)TCD, FIMMM, C.Eng.

Question One – What are the key issues facing SEAI in developing its strategy to 2020?
  • Reorienting SEAI's focus from its politically correct and Green ideology motivated by Eamonn Ryan and re-focus it firmly on  the needs  and tolerances of Ireland’s  population and its reasonable requirement  of an efficient, reliable, affordable and fit for purpose energy sector. 

  • Defining what "sustainable energy "  means in  the framework Ireland's future energy needs and  in the context of macro-scenarios bounding the limits of Ireland's social and economic futures, 

  • Defining the requirements and constraints and  developing Ireland's energy sector in a socially cohesive and economically rational  strategy in balance with the country's  scale and population and in which environmental impact is managed in a socially cohesive manner respecting the fact that the environment is a social good and not the property of the State and its Agencies and  is neither regarded  as "untouchable" nor a parish pump political no -go area.

  • Abandoning the pretence that Ireland can make anything other than a meaningless, but economically and socially damaging, symbolic gesture in the context of " decarbonisation" . If we ceased emitting all CO2  tomorrow the effect on global CO2 emissions would be overcome by the growth of GHG in China and India in less than a few months. 

  • SEAI should acknowledge  that the  impact  of   any Irish energy strategy on global temperature will be below the detection limit.

  • Developing a national energy management strategy that is based in the actual physical, technological, manufacturing, knowledge and economic realities of a small geographic entity with limited population and natural resource base rather than pandering to politically correct, but  currently fashionable  ideology. 

  • SEAI should recognise that as Ireland and the  EU enacted the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP)in  breach of the Aarhus Convention,  REFIT and other subsidies to the Renewable energy  industry may constitute illegal state aid  are of questionable legality and  enforceability.

  • Recognising that so long as Irish electricity generation is largely based on fossil and biomass thermal technology Electric vehicles  will exacerbate rather than mitigate CO2 emissions  and are thus only justifiable on economic grounds if energy prices are supportive and if air quality is threatened by  vehicle exhaust  in large urban areas. Recognising that freight vehicles are large contributors and unlikely candidates for electrification. 

  • Limiting the addition of unnecessary, intermittent, non-despatchable generating capacity  to the national generating fleet which already has significant overcapacity and which contributes to grid instability and escalates cost to consumers.

  • Abandoning the irrational strategy of simultaneously planning to increase generating capacity and decrease demand especially as the wind  sector's requirements for smart metering, grid extensions and inter-connectors is politically, economically, socially and environmentally unsustainable.

  • Developing a vision and  strategy in which meeting consumer needs  at affordable prices, promoting social, cohesion  and respecting  environmental  and economic constraints are the proper   motives of SEAI  rather than pursuing transient  ideological, "green" and  politically motivated  objectives.

  • Recognising that Ireland's construction industry, consumer demand and economic affordability are the prime drivers of building energy conservation initiatives and not SEAI. 

  • Developing internal and  external SEAI and consumer awareness that many so-called renewable and energy saving devices require the supply and use of materials either themselves toxic ( mercury in low energy light bulbs) and/or create  hazardous toxic waste problems in  disposal and in supplying countries ( samarium, neodymium, lithium etc.). The increased use of technologies requiring these materials is not environmentally sustainable  even if the impacts are outside Ireland.

Question two – Is SEAI’S current vision understandable and relevant?
  • SEAI’s current  vision is not  relevant to today’s world and is not understandable other than in the context of the Green  Party’s political agenda in the previous government. SEAI must articulate  a vision which meets the values  and the present and future needs  of the taxpayers of this country and supports  its industries and investors and recognises that affordability and reliability are more relevant to them  than any hypothetical impact on global average temperature. To the extent that such a vision supports  exploitation of  genuine external opportunities to the benefit of SEAI's funders ( the taxpayers) it may do so. It should not be driven by low-carbon solutions as Ireland's GHG emissions are insignificant on any scale. 

Question Three- have you had any recent interaction with SEAI?
  • I  once applied for a position on the SEAI board. 

Question Four- Have you any suggestions for SEAI to consider in developing its strategy?
  • Reposition SEAI in  the realities of this country, its people, its energy needs, its constraints arising from the social and economic mileu and the environmental and social impact.  Stop attempting to become a world leader in developing green and low carbon solutions for the Irish energy sector  unless there are clear opportunities that better resourced entities can not reproduce. 


  1. Ed Miliband, former Labour Party Leader and advocate of wind energy, solar energy, carbon taxes takes a hypercritical stance when it comes to him own back door. He calls on the new Tory Government to allow a coal mine to stay open and an exception made for his constituency. I kid you not.

  2. Re Question One, points 4 & 5: If the argument that as an individual's contribution to the communal effort of a large number of contributors is tiny they can be let off contributing their fair share is valid, can it be applied to all the contributors? And can it be applied to my taxes?

    1. Its just an (unfortunate for greens) statement of fact. Science is pretty clear cut like that, but sadly people still want to build mysticism into it.

      If climate change is really real, then Ireland is doomed beyond hope, even if we abandon our economic dreams and lifestyles and live in wooden huts tomorrow, unless the big industrial nations do something about their emissions.