Saturday, 10 December 2016

Factcheck Energy Minister

Richard Boyd Barrett, one of the most capable politicians in the country, gave Energy Minister Denis Naughten a grilling in the Dail on Tuesday over his energy plans.  Barrett claimed that wind energy gets 80% of the PSO. The Minister disagreed but didnt have the figures to hand.

FACTCHECK : Wind gets about 67% of the PSO, peat gets 29% with the remaining 4% going to other renewables*.  

FACTCHECK : There is a legal process for assessing plans and programmes. It is not up to Deputy Dooley or Naughten to decide what route we should go down. A Cost Benefit Analysis needs to underpin this type of decision making where billions are at stake, not what Deputy Dooley happens to think is a good idea.

FACTCHECK : It is true that the wind energy guidelines are subject to strategic environmental assessment (SEA). However, an SEA is required for all public plans and programmes. The Government's Renewable Energy Plan (NREAP) has never been subject to an SEA. 

FACTCHECK : The 3-4% savings figure from wind is an overall emissions figure that includes other sectors like transport, heating and agriculture. Last year, there was a 4.9% increase in energy use. Transport's share of overall energy use rose from 33% to 42% in 2015.  So the savings made from installing wind farms are being more than wiped out by rises in other sectors. Yet the political and (Fake) News narrative is still all about electricity generation. 

*I have taken out the clawbacks from security of supply (gas) as they distort the PSO figure. Biomas, biogas and hydro made up about 5% of electricity generation in 2015 according to SEAI.   This means that wind received € 286 million from PSO.  


  1. From many years I have been trying to stop Ireland's National Renewable Energy Action Plan in the courts for non-compliance with the SEA Directive and inter-alia the Aarhus Convention. Planners frustrated my efforts by refusing planning permission in every case. I have targeted the North South Interconnector for a judicial review but have to wait until they grant/refuse it. I bet they will refuse it. My next step is to get back in the business of objecting to wind farms so that eventually they will have to grant one. I am also objecting to connecting cables for wind farms already granted. Maybe it was a lucky thing because there is now ample case law to support a case. Also Judges are more aware of it now too. It is significant that for the first time ever, an Irish official (in this case Minister Naughton) has acknowledges=d the existence of the SEA Directive. He wants to bring in guidelines on set back distances for wind turbines and has come realize that no executive action can be done outside the SEA Directive. There is case law to prove this.Also at the end of my recent Judicial Review on exempting connecting cables for Raragh wind farm, I told all the lawyers that my next target was the SEA Directive. So the official side know what I intend. It appears the SEA Directive does not apply to the EU itself, only National or regional districts. Of course I have great help from EPAW and the other excellent group Environment Action Alliance - Ireland. 1917 should be and interesting year.

  2. The North/South inter connector has been granted planning permission, Now the fun ans games begins