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The Energy White Paper and Corrib

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The Energy White Paper and Corrib
March 13, 2007 at 2:07 pm | In Articles | No Comments

The Energy White Paper makes a few interesting references to Corrib.
Security of Supply
In section 3.3.3 there is a clear acknowledgement that there is no security of supply issue facing the country. This removes one of the key justifications being cited to progress the Corrib gas project in its present form.
Fiscal Terms
The White Paper clearly exposes government confusion on this point. In section 3.6.1 it speaks of reviewing these terms if prospectivity improves. But in section 3.6.2 it openly acknowledges that significant potential fossil fuel resources exist in the Irish off-shore. So why not change these terms now? In any event the financial return on any such find is so enormous given the rise in fossil fuel values that the present regime is clearly inadequate. The government fails to realise the investment capacity for the transition to renewable energy that a proper fiscal regime would deliver.
Safety and Regulation
The White Paper acknowledges and concedes two key issues in the local campaign to change the Corrib gas project. In section 3.6.5 the task of regulating and supervising production pipelines is granted to the CER and thereby removed from the Dept of Marine. Local people always argued that the Dept could not both encourage the oil and gas industry and supervise it at the same time. Secondly, in section 3.6.5 it is also announced that a National Risk Framework will now be put in place for oil and gas projects among others. Again, this acknowledges that Corrib was developed without such a Framework to properly determine risk and risk assessment, which has been another argument advanced by local people in North Mayo.

Response to Energy White Paper
March 13, 2007 at 4:49 pm | In Articles | No Comments

Charting a sustainable energy policy and preparing the country for rapid global warming are the two biggest challenges facing the State. The government’s White Paper proposes that 33% of our electricity will come from renewable energy sources by 2020. But this is merely aspirational because such a commitment is not integrated into the social and economic framework needed to bring it about. The Paper fails to adequately address transportation and industry as critical sources of greenhouse emissions. Let me outline this with a few illustrations:

  1. We need micro-generation of electricity using diverse but complementary power sources. This would give rise to community grids connected into national and European grids so that energy deficits can be imported and energy surpluses exported. But this requires new infrastructure and new community planning.
  2. We need an emphasis on organic agriculture so that food is grown as locally as possible without recourse to chemical fertilizers and the need for long transportation chains.
  3. We need to radically reduce private car usage. This requires new public transport facilities and the integration of work and home and a sustained effort to eliminate long car-based commuting.
  4. We need businesses and factories to develop local energy sources and to be rewarded for so doing.
  5. We need to derive significant financial returns from indigenous fossil fuel sources such as Corrib in order to invest in developing and supporting renewable and micro energy systems.

In summary, real energy sustainability will require a real de-centralisation of the society and economy. There is no evidence from the White Paper that the government is thinking along these necessary lines

Posted Date: 
14 March 2007 - 6:49pm