Ireland to be big player in energy
Ireland has a "real opportunity" to develop its natural resources and become a renewable energy exporter of significant scale, Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte has told a conference in Vienna.
Addressing the European Wind Energy Association, he said that as Ireland moved from being an island-based, stand-alone energy system to a more interconnected and integrated single market, the country could significantly develop its natural resources.
Mr Rabbitte said he and his UK counterpart recently signed a memorandum of understanding on energy co-operation.
"My hope is that we will be able to facilitate projects of scale in green energy with attendant economic benefits for both countries," he said.
"I have described this as a win-win scenario. On the one hand, the UK has challenging renewable energy targets to meet. On the other hand, Ireland has excellent wind resources, as well as thousands of acres of cutaway bog and extensive afforestation."
The European Union wants to see regional energy markets created and ultimately a single electricity and gas market in Europe. It has also set out targets that member states should achieve in terms of energy usage from renewable sources.
"Pending completion of our analysis and an agreement between the two governments, nothing is yet decided," said Mr Rabbitte yesterday. "If we can reach agreement, then a transparent procedure for project selection will be needed in order to decide what projects get the go-ahead."