White Paper pushes greener energyMonday 12 March 2007 22.02
The Government has said the targets set out in its White Paper on Energy were ambitious but achievable.
The White Paper was published today against a backdrop of concern over oil prices and new demands for action on climate change.
The document entitled 'Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland' was launched by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Minister for Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey.
The Green Party has said it does not believe Government plans will come anywhere close to ensuring the country abides by tough new EU emissions targets.
Ireland imports around 90% of its energy and these fossil fuels like oil and coal have contributed to its greenhouse gas emissions being twice as high as they should be.
The country's demand for energy is projected to increase by 30% by 2020. However last Friday, the EU agreed to binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 20%.
Today's White Paper aims to provide security of supply, a competitive price and be environmentally friendly.
The Government wants a third of Ireland's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.
In addition, the ESB's distribution network is to operate under a not-for-profit basis in order to reduce energy costs for consumers.
Land which is linked to the electricity network will be set aside for independent power companies.
And ownership of the transmission network, which is under the ESB's control, will move to a separate company, Eirgrid.
Minister Dempsey will have to explain how his plan will ensure Ireland abides by the new EU emissions cutting targets, when it is already way above its old Kyoto limit and has had to spend hundreds of millions on carbon credits as a result.