EXCERPT FROM SPEECH BY PAT RABBITTE TD
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte TD will attend talks in London tomorrow with his UK counterpart Charles Hendry MP, to discuss the potential for trade between the two countries in renewable electricity.
Speaking at a business conference in London, the Minister pointed out that we have long known that Ireland has renewable energy resources that are considerably greater than our own needs. “As we move from today’s island-based, stand-alone energy system to a more interconnected and integrated single European energy market, we now have a real opportunity to develop our abundant natural resources to become a renewable electricity exporter of scale.
“Increased interconnection to the UK offers us the opportunity to access a much larger market in future. In the short term there are opportunities for on and off shore wind and biomass development but, as technologies develop and become more commercially deployable, in time we will also see wave and tidal developments.
“There is the obvious construction job potential. Renewable generators are also commercial businesses and they form part of the rate-paying base. In addition, a growing majority of wind farm developers also operate some form of local community fund, where payments are made available to deliver local amenities.
“And, if we can develop projects at sufficient scale, there is also the opportunity to see increased job potential not just during the construction phases but in component manufacturing and in the operations and maintenance area.
“The Taoiseach and I are both committed to delivering on this potential, by creating the framework and conditions for a bilateral and eventually multilateral trade in renewable energy – providing of course that Ireland’s interests are secured.
“Our work is now intensifying. Tomorrow I am meeting again with Energy Minister Charles Hendry to progress our shared objective of achieving an inter-Governmental agreement to underpin the export of renewable energy. And the work will be further advanced by the Taoiseach and me when we meet our counterparts in the British Irish Council at Stirling in Scotland this Friday.”
The Minister was speaking at RE:CONNECT, the Western Regional Business Network, an initiative of the Western Development Commission and six western local authorities (Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo and Galway) that fosters contacts between businesses in the West of Ireland and individuals and businesses abroad.
Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources,
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