Renewable energy can supply 40pc of demand
IRELAND could get almost half of its energy from renewable sources and eventually become a net exporter of energy under plans revealed by the Government yesterday.
The Department of Energy's 'Strategy for Renewable Energy: 2012 -- 2020' claims Ireland can source 40pc of its energy output from renewables by the end of this decade and could eventually have an energy surplus, allowing us to export it to the UK and beyond.
"We have agreed the 40pc with the European Union but it is also a target we should embrace ourselves and aim to surpass if possible," said Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte.
The report highlights five "strategic goals" for renewable energy, including increasing the amount of power sourced from wind, as well as a renewed emphasis on bio-energy, research and development, and an increase in the rate of renewables used by the public transport sector to 10pc by 2020.
The report also calls for an "intelligent, robust and cost efficient energy networks system".
The plan notes 36 actions that should allow the Government to hit these goals.
Ireland uses about seven gigawatts of electricity a year. According to Mr Rabbitte, it may be possible to produce double that amount from wind, sea and solar energy.
"Given the scale of our wind resources, in the medium term we could be exporting wind energy on a scale that matches the total electricity consumption of the country," he said.
"As the European Union moves to decarbonise its energy systems, there will be a real demand in Europe for carbon free electricity. Our coastal location gives us a real advantage in having natural resources of real scale and significance," he added.