ENGLAND has a problem. Power plants are ageing, and no one is willing to invest in new ones.
The European Commission has imposed stringent targets for renewable electricity. The plan is now to build a great many wind turbines in the Irish midlands, and transmit the power to England.
The wind blows harder in Ireland than in England, but this does not justify the extra cost of long distance transmission. Rather, locals effectively use the English planning regulations to block new wind turbines.
Transmission will be over a dedicated grid. EirGrid would not have to invest even more than it already does, and English wind would not be eligible for the generous subsidies on Irish wind.
So what does Ireland get out of this? Some construction jobs, fewer maintenance jobs, and more wind turbines to look at. It seems that England struck the better bargain.
Wind power should pay royalties, just like oil and gas pay royalties. England would contribute money to the Irish exchequer if they still want to go ahead.
Royalties would make wind power more expensive in Ireland too, another reason to switch to cheaper gas for power generation.