Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore, said in the Dáil today that the €50m transfer to Denmark and Estonia for renewable energy credits is a failure and should serve as a wake-up call to the Government.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on Climate Action and Biodiversity, was speaking on the motion marking Ireland’s €50m purchase of renewable energy credits, known as statistical transfers, from Denmark and Estonia.

Ireland failed to reach its 16% target of energy from renewable sources by 3-4% and is now bound by EU legislation to purchase the remaining credits from countries with wind energy to spare.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“It is a sad reality that we are in this situation where we have to say goodbye to €50m of public money because we failed to reach our targets for 2020. It should be a wake-up call to this Government of our continued failure in addressing climate change and the need to ramp up our response to it.

“We should be here celebrating our progress addressing climate change on the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement. Instead, we are here to approve a paper exercise to pretend that we have met our 2020 renewable energy targets. We are referring to this as a statistical transfer when really it is a certificate of failure – a failure that will cost us €50m.

“It is essential that this Government reflects on the mistakes of the past and the choices that were made that have led to us purchasing energy from elsewhere in Europe. Just imagine what we could do with €50m if we met our renewable energy targets.

“€50m could retrofit between 1,250 and 2,500 homes in this country or help Friends of the Earth purchase a total of 5,000 solar panels for all schools across the country. But instead, this money goes to another country as a reward for their good behaviour and progress in developing renewable energy – and is a slap on the wrist for us.

“We need to ask serious questions as to why the previous Government decided to only allow onshore wind to compete in the support scheme and did not facilitate offshore wind and solar. It is also important to progress the development of key infrastructure projects like the North-South Interconnector, Grid Link and Grid West and renewable heat and transport energy schemes.

“Most importantly, will this Government respond to the urgent and pressing need for Ireland to meet current and future targets and radically increase the production of 70% renewable energy by 2030?

“I will continue to look at ways we can improve on our track record and hope to pursue this further with the minister in my ongoing work on the Climate Action Bill and as a member of the Joint Committee on Climate Action.”

December 16, 2020

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