18 Oct Energy Policy and Economic Recovery; 2010 – 2015

Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE)

The unprecedented economic crisis in Ireland has created circumstances that require a rapid and fundamental change in energy policy in order to support economic recovery.  A short term (five year) policy perspective is urgently required.  For the next five years the overriding priority in the energy sector is to achieve a significant cost reduction in order to facilitate competitiveness in the productive, particularly the export, sectors of the economy.

The report sets out an alternative strategy for the next five years, based on:
– Reducing capital investment in the energy sector to a minimum necessary level, particularly with respect to wind power generation and associated grid extensions.
– Switching investment to demand side measures, particularly to energy conservation measures.
– Taking advantage of the subdued level of natural gas prices predicted for the next five to ten years.

A switch, from a policy focussed on increased electricity production, to one focussed on reducing energy consumption would:-
– Meet Ireland’s carbon abatement obligations at a lower cost than current production focussed policy
– Provide a significant and welcome stimulus to the Irish construction industry

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