A deluded energy policy

Ireland’s energy security is on a knife-edge

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – Senator Lisa Chambers, Fianna Fáil’s European election candidate, has made an extraordinary, if deluded, call for Ireland to secure the powerful energy portfolio in the next EU Commission (“Coalition leaders urged to push for Ireland to secure energy portfolio in new European Commission”, News, April 3rd).

Does Ms Chambers not realise that the EU leaders know well that Ireland has a history of gross mismanagement of our indigenous energy since the 1950s when Fianna Fáil gave away our entire offshore resources for a pittance?

Is she not aware that, as a result, today and for the foreseeable future, Ireland’s energy security is on a permanent knife-edge with no natural gas storage and dependent on 100 per cent import of oil and 80 per cent of natural gas, vital back-up transition fuels over the next two decades at least? At the moment, 20 per cent of our electricity is imported directly from Britain.

Would she not agree that there is a pathetic irony in that the Coalition is content to be totally dependent on the increasingly chaotic and unreliable British establishment for our energy supply and security through increasingly vulnerable pipelines?


She must be aware that the coalition’s recent decision, in a spate of mindless and irresponsible grandstanding, to cease issuing oil and gas exploration licenses off our coast has increased our vulnerability and dependence on Britain, further exacerbated by the irresponsible dogma-driven refusal to allow further exploration of the Barryroe field just off the Cork coast, which would have guaranteed decades of native energy security by 2026.

Ms Chambers bases her request on Ireland’s “access to a high-quality wind corridor off the west coast delivering not just for Ireland but for but for Europe as a whole”.

Those in the renewable industry are too well aware and totally frustrated that Ireland is far behind the rest of Europe in terms of preparation, planning and offshore infrastructure. Recently as a result, two of the largest operators, Equinor and Shell have left our shores and abandoned future developments.

Ms Chambers would do well to peruse the official EU Wind Europe site (windeurope.org) which shows that Ireland at present generates on average only 35 gigawatt hours (GWh) from wind per day whereas the top ten EU countries generate over 2500 GWh. Germany, UK, Denmark, Netherlands Belgium and France already have substantial off- shore wind generating capacity and rapidly developing more.

It is naive, therefore, on the basis of our historical and current mismanagement of our own energy, that Ireland would be considered for the European Commission energy portfolio. – Yours, etc,