We now have a tripartite energy crisis – in cost, demand and antiquated infrastructure

The Dáil urgently needs to set aside time for a debate on surging energy prices, according to Social Democrats Climate Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore, who has written to the Business Committee requesting time to debate this matter at the earliest opportunity.

“The wholesale price of natural gas has nearly tripled already this year – and that’s before peak winter demand sets in. As a consequence, consumers are experiencing enormous hikes in their energy bills.

“These increases in prices will have a hugely disproportionate impact on people on fixed incomes, including pensioners and those in receipt of social welfare payments. Environment Minister Eamon Ryan urgently needs to come to the Dáil and answer questions on this escalating crisis.

“Budget 2022 is just a few weeks away. It is important we know what measures the government proposes to take to insulate the most vulnerable members of our community from the negative impact of these soaring prices.

“The Minister regularly speaks of a just transition, when it comes to achieving our climate action targets. These words will sound very hollow unless increases in social welfare payments are introduced to help people manage the increased burden of rising energy prices.

“We now have a tripartite energy crisis – in cost, demand and antiquated infrastructure. The annual increase in energy demand, from data centres, in the last four years was equivalent to adding 140,000 households to the power system each year. This is not sustainable – and is now threatening our energy security, billions of euro in investment and thousands of jobs.

“Coupled with warnings that we may miss our renewable energy targets for 2030, there are serious questions to be asked of the Minister’s handling of this energy crisis. I am hopeful the Business Committee will assent to my urgent request for Dáil statements on this topic.”

21 September, 2021


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