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Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

It is now clear that the British people have made the choice to leave the European Union. The countr...


Call For Wind Energy Policies to Be Reviewed

Labour Senator John Whelan has called for a radical reassessment and review of Ireland's renewable energy policy, in particular wind energy. Mr Whelan said: "While wind energy may have a role to play in our renewable energy strategy, the current proposals for the proliferation of over 2,500 giant 185 metre wind turbines across the midlands is economically, environmentally and socially unsustainable. Wind energy is far more expensive than originally estimated and the environmental and social impacts of the new generation of massive turbines are only coming to light now. Such a policy review has led the present UK government to curb and move away from excessive investment and over-reliance on wind energy to meet EU renewable energy targets.

"In this regard Irish families cannot be expected to bear the brunt of the UK government's energy policies by becoming a soft touch for thousands of massive turbines and the attendant pylons and power lines required to connect them to the grid. This is a flawed and short-sighted policy which is a hangover from the previous Fianna Fail-Green government and has to date been apparently adopted hook, line and sinker by the present Government without any evaluation and cost benefit analysis which is now critical.

"Serious doubts are emerging too as to the economic viability of such excessive wind farm investment, as it has to be so heavily subsidised; is extremely unreliable and uncompetitive and drives up the cost of electricity to consumers and industry.

"There is also mounting evidence that the present policy is being pushed for the benefit of a few for a great cost to the wider community. Far-fetched job creation claims have already proven to be groundless and spurious in the extreme. The wind energy sector is now being developer driven rather than being Government-led and people-centred. There are grounds to believe that there are vested interests and even conflicts of interest at play which undermines the integrity of the policy and decision-making process.

"As hundreds of rural dwellers take their opposition to large-scale wind farm developments in close proximity to their homes directly to an EU renewable energy conference a Dublin Castle tomorrow, I will be joining with them in their march as a show of solidarity.

"I will be reiterating my call on the Government to support Senator John Kelly's Wind Turbine Bill, which I co-sponsored, to ensure a reasonable minimum setback from family homes so as to allay community fears. This 1.5km setback, which is being strenuously resisted by the wind energy lobby, would still leave 10% of land available for wind farms, not enough according to the developers. As 7% of the country is covered in forestry I cannot understand why we would require more space for turbines than we have for trees?

"In additional the planning codes and guidelines pertaining to wind farms are totally obsolete and outmoded as they make now provision for the scale of the most modern 185 metre turbines now proposed for the Midlands - more than twice the size of anything presently operating here. The new revised guidelines being drafted must embed community concerns and interests.

"There are also legitimate worries around the secrecy of land option contracts being utilised by wind farm developers to silence local dissent, as these are undermining the planning process and leading to an inordinate level of strife and distrust between neighbours in rural areas - many of them not even zoned for wind energy development."

Source: Build.ie - Call For Wind Energy Policies to Be Reviewed