Alternative Analysis of Energy Policy in Ireland
Years ago, petrol cars simply sucked in fuel through a jet in the carburetor. A flap adjusted from the accellerator pedal created more suction at the jet and sucked more fuel as it was pressed by the driver. It was an inefficient crude affair. To day a car has a much more complex mechanism, often using delecate electronic trottle bodies and measured direct injection. The result is more miles per gallon. Diesels are more efficient too. However the reduced cost of buying fuel enables more people to drive cars and the overall petrol used is the same or even increased. A very similat counter intuitive effect is Giffen goods. If a poor population is living on mainly potatoes and they suddenly receive an income boost, they will not buy more potatoes, instead they will buy meat, eggs and fish. The consumption/price of potatoes may go down instead of up. You can check this on Wikipedia. Intuition is a very limited economic planning tool, but unfortunately is is the only tool used by our energy department in Ireland and elsewhere.
You may remember a while back I spoke about the Strategic Environmental Impact Directive and the fact that there is none for Irishand National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP). In yesterdays Sunday Times, Minister Dennis Naughton accepted the existence of the SEA Directive and interprets it to mean a public consultation must be done for the creation of new set back guidelines for industrial wind turbines. He is wrong, because several cases out the the European Court of Justice rule that no part of a plan or programme can be assessed outside an SEA for the whole plan or programme. They have to do an SEA for the NREAP and any official act will be overturned by a court by way of judicial review. If they grant permision for the North/South interconnector, I am likely to challenge it on that basis. You read it first on the Irish Energy Blog!