Reliance on UK gas supplies 'should be reduced' post-Brexit
Ireland should identify alternative sources of gas to reduce the dependency on UK supplies post-Brexit, a leading think-tank has warned.
The ESRI says that energy policy needs to be re-evaluated and that there are "many opportunities" to devise new ways of tackling climate change and enhancing security of supply after the UK leaves the bloc.
In a paper, 'Re-evaluating Irish energy policy in light of Brexit', the think-tank says that policymakers should not "focus to an excessive degree" on the real or perceived threats from Brexit while ignoring other "pressing issues".
"Policy makers should exercise caution in determining their priorities," ESRI author Muireann Lynch said.
"While Brexit will certainly impact on the policy landscape, there are many opportunities for improving Irish energy policy that should be addressed regardless of Brexit.
"These include a thorough cost-benefit analysis of new infrastructural projects such as gas and electricity interconnection, efficient renewable energy policies and increasing competition and value for money in energy markets.
"Policy makers should not focus to an excessive degree on the real or perceived threats of Brexit while potentially ignoring other pressing issues."
Ireland imports almost 90pc of its energy needs through inter-connectors with the UK.
While Ireland has access to gas from Kinsale and the Corrib field, alternative sources should be identified, and the costs of delivering them should be outlined.
"Corrib and Kinsale are not in a position to meet all of Ireland's annual gas demand and so Ireland will continue to rely on gas via Great Britain for the foreseeable future," the ESRI said.
"Furthermore, Kinsale is expected to cease production by 2020/2021, while Corrib production is projected to decrease to 50pc of its initial levels by 2025."