Ireland must invest even more in renewable technologies, expand grid integration and improve energy efficiency, the International Energy Agency says in a review of Irish energy policies, published today.
"At a time when many governments are shying away from their commitments to clean energy, Ireland has courageously resisted the temptation to scale back its own," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said today in Dublin as she released the new study, Energy Policies of IEA Countries - Ireland 2012. "A lot has been achieved, yet there is more to do. Now is not the time for complacency."
With some of the best wind and ocean energy resources in Europe, Ireland plans to produce 40% of its electricity from renewable sources (mostly wind power) by 2020, one of the highest targets in the world. However, while the push to develop renewable energies “is commendable”, the IEA warns, “it will result in an increased reliance on natural gas, as gas-fired power plants will be required to provide flexibility in electricity supply when wind power is unavailable”.
Two-thirds of Ireland's electricity already comes from gas-fired generation, which adds to energy security concerns, particularly as 93% of its gas supplies come from a single transit point in Scotland. “The country must successfully develop a range of gas and electricity infrastructure projects and market solutions while continuing to integrate its energy markets with regional neighbours,” says the IEA.