Energy crisis hampers public backing for renewables switch

New report shows Republic among Europe’s least prepared for green transition

High prices are weakening public backing for the switch to green energy, says a new report ranking the Republic among Europe’s worst prepared states for the change to renewables.

Government climate action targets aim to generate 80 per cent of electricity used from renewables by 2030 from about 36 per cent last year.

However, a new study shows that the Republic is among the least prepared of 13 European states for the planned switch to renewables, to which the EU gave extra backing earlier this year.

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology’s Energy Transition Readiness Index ranks the Republic joint lowest with five other countries, behind Finland, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.


“The political and public consensus for the energy transition has been weakened by affordability and energy security issues arising from the current energy crisis,” the report states.

The study, sponsored by Irish-based, multinational power management specialist Eaton and law firm Eversheds Sutherland, says that the crisis has undermined confidence in policy.

Countries score according to their overall readiness, with five rated the highest and one the lowest.

The Republic scores three, along with Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. No country in the survey is at one or two.

This year’s performance means that the State has fallen behind since 2021, when it scored four.

“The current crisis has exposed delays in deployment of renewable generation and energy security gaps,” says the report.

It warns that access to the electricity grid for renewable projects and electric vehicle charging points is of increasing concern.

Phil Kane, country manager at Eaton Ireland, argued that practical solutions were needed to allow zero-carbon and energy efficient plant and equipment to connect to the grid without delay.

“This is especially true in the case of electric vehicle charging where it is imperative that both industry and Government works collaboratively to create a robust regulatory framework,” she said.

Ms Kane said this would boost consumer confidence in “green mobility” and encourage much-needed investment.

Concerns over charging are hampering sales of electric vehicles, according to the report.

It shows that they accounted for just 5 per cent of new registrations in the Republic last year, while they amounted to just one in every 100 vehicles on the roads.

Mark Varian, Eversheds Sutherland partner, noted that Irish climate targets needed more investment in flexible low-carbon electricity, which would save consumers’ money and provide energy security.

“But in order for investment to continue we need a speedier roll out and implementation of policies and regulatory framework that support access to market sectors such as offshore wind,” he said.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology said many European governments were failing to match words with action.

“We now need to see significant action to remove the barriers facing our industry ... long-term planning, prioritising and accelerating market reforms and urgently addressing current investment barriers,” she said.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas