Meeting Ireland’s energy needs

Looming challenges

Sir, – Over two years ago Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan obtained Cabinet approval to introduce legislation to ban licences for new oil and natural gas exploration.

The same Minister has also been responsible for the delays in reaching a decision on the long-awaited €650 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) project for the Shannon Estuary.

Moreover, Ireland is the worst-prepared country in Europe for an energy crisis, as well as the possibility of continuous blackouts during the winter. This will be a catastrophic scenario for industry and domestic energy consumers.

It beggars belief the ineptitude of the Government to be in the energy situation that we are now in and likely to get worse.


Aside from the Ukraine conflict, Ireland was in any case heading for an energy crisis. Our current generating facilities (oil, gas and coal) are nothing more than a patchwork of inefficient, ineffective and outdated generating capacity. No new generating capacity has been added and what is there is on its last legs.

We are 100 per cent reliant on imported fossil fuels from wherever we can obtain it. Some 71 per cent of Ireland’s natural gas comes from the UK via a single route, but that gas source may reduce in the near future.

A shortage of natural gas supplies in Britain would have an impact in Ireland, with reduced gas imports from Britain. Ireland recently dispensed with electricity generation from peat-derived sources.

The only viable source of indigenous gas is the Corrib gas field as the Kinsale gas field is no longer viable.

So, this puts Ireland in the position whereby we have no liquid natural gas terminal, limited availability of biogas and biomass, and no nuclear power.

As far as gas storage is concerned, Ireland is one of the least flexible countries to adapt to any potential gas shortages in Europe.

Some 50 per cent of EU countries utilising existing nuclear energy infrastructure will have more to gain in the current energy crisis.

In addition, they will also be energy independent and not totally reliant on fossil fuels.

France has the most operable nuclear reactors, followed by countries such as Finland, Sweden Belgium and Spain.

It is regrettable that Ireland in 1978, did not heed the sound technical advice of Irish engineers and scientists and proceed with the construction of a nuclear power facility at Carnsore Point in Co Wexford.

Unfortunately, the government of the day listened instead to the pseudo-science court of public opinion.

As for renewables, energy from wind is fine provided the wind blows continuously.

As a nation, we are unfortunately out of touch with energy reality and for we which we are paying dearly and will pay dearly. – Yours, etc,


Senior International

Environmental Consultant,

Toll Environmental Consulting,

Kerry Pike,

Co Cork.

Sir, – “Renewable” energy has become a synonym for “sustainable and low-carbon”, allowing a complete negation of low-carbon nuclear energy in an efficient, low-carbon, reliable electricity system.

However, renewable wind and solar are not “on demand”, they are irregular and unreliable.

Nuclear could take the reliable low-carbon, base-load position, in support of wind and solar, allowing us to achieve our emissions targets.

What we need, and the public deserve, is an open and honest debate of all low-carbon options with removal of legal barriers to nuclear, allowing consideration of the developing small reactors. – Yours, etc,



Co Tipperary.