On the 3rd June, 2015 the Department of Energy held an Energy stakeholder conference at Dublin Castle. There was a very interesting contribution from David Hughes of Passive House on energy efficiency which can be viewed here at 1:16 :
There is a technical limit (50%) on the amount of wind that can be allowed into the system so it stands to reason that if we are on a trajectory to reduce demand to keep in line with EU targets on energy reduction that we cannot continually grow the amount of renewables as it becomes surplus to requirements.
The mechanism for funding energy efficiency has been very poor. To date, total expenditure has been € 137 million, whereas the payments to wind farms in one year has been € 500 million.
So if we reduce demand, the limit for wind penetration decreases and we need to curtail and dump more wind. It therefore makes absolutely no sense to install more wind farms, and instead we should be directing investments for wind and REFIT into retrofitting instead. Investing in energy efficiency also alleviates the need for new grid infrastructure.
So the question has to be asked why are we not doing this ?
Could it be that the authorities prefer higher bills to lower bills ? Are they afraid of reducing the electricity market pie for investors ?
If so, this is a serious breach of political responsibility towards its citizens and the future of this country and amounts to a hi-jacking by corporate interests over the public interest.
You can also find in the above video contributions from Val Martin on the legality of NREAP and John Dooley on the diminishing performance of wind turbines, regular commentors on this site. Mr Duggan from the Irish Academy of Engineering asked the pertinent question of what they intend to do about oil depenedency, considering it provides over 50% of our energy consumption.
The complete inadequacy of the responses to all these important issues raised shows that Ireland's energy policy is a closed shop at the Department of Energy. It is only certain interested parties who are allowed an input into its direction. The first contributor at the conference, Sheila O'Brien, made this point quite well (along with an interesting point about the displacement of hydro by wind).
Public Participation, this is not.