Champion Clean Energy

Securing safe, clean and dependable energy sources is one of the most pressing challenges the State faces in the first half of this century. The Social Democrats recognise that fossil fuel based generation must eventually be phased out in its entirety and that this will form an essential part of Ireland’s overall climate strategy. Ireland has made important steps forward in the development of renewable capacity, but we still remain among the most fossil-fuel dependent nations in Europe. This must change.

Priorities for the Social Democrats include:

  • Set a target to see Ireland as a leader among the 23 coastal EU Member States in developing and harnessing ocean energy, and recognise the great potential that exists there. We will increase funding for new and existing research and development tenders in ocean energy.
  • Establish a new Offshore Wind Development Agency with a specific mandate to attract investment -aiding this task by simplifying the regulatory and foreshore regime for offshore wind with the aims of reducing investor risk, and providing a stable regulatory setup. We will also prioritise State support for offshore through the introduction of a limited Feed-In-Tariff, subject to EU State-Aid approval and determined through a competitive bidding process.
  • Our approach to the development of large-scale onshore wind needs to be fundamentally rethought. In many areas large scale development proposals have been imposed on local communities. This needs to change. The Social Democrats recognise that we must place community and citizen concerns at the heart of the planning process. We will seek urgent publication of updated planning guidelines to ensure that adequate consideration is given to community concerns around scale, height, density, setback and other considerations.
  • Ensure that, where possible, there is a rebalance in the ownership model of onshore wind projects towards local communities, looking to the Danish and German models of community ownership for inspiration. Under this approach, it is local communities who will benefit most and who will have the final say on the scale of any proposed new developments.
  • Introduce legislation to effectively underpin the Aarhus Convention in Irish law to ensure access to information on the environment is readily available.


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