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Scaling Ireland’s Renewables Industry in 2024 

2024 will be an important year for Ireland’s renewable energy sector. Despite ambitions to significantly boost renewable energy sources, the country faces an uphill battle in meeting its targets. Government has set an ambitious target for renewable energy, aiming for 80% of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2030. According to FuturEnergy, as of May 2022, onshore wind generated 4,332MW of power, but the Climate Action Plan aims to more than double this capacity to 9,000MW by the end of the decade. This target forms a critical part of Ireland’s strategy to transition to a more sustainable energy future.

European Commitments and Wind Energy

In a significant step, Minister Eamon Ryan of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications announced Ireland’s commitment to the European Wind Charter. This charter aligns with both onshore and offshore wind energy development and aims to improve conditions for achieving wind energy targets. Ireland has also made a voluntary ‘wind pledge,’ setting specific targets for 2024-2026 and indicative goals for 2030 and beyond. Notably, the offshore wind pledge targets 20GW by 2040, aligning with the North Seas Energy Cooperation’s plans.

Despite these efforts, Ireland ranked at the bottom among EU countries for renewable energy usage in 2022, with only 13.1% of its energy consumption coming from renewable sources. This status raises concerns about the nation’s ability to meet its future renewable energy targets. Moreover, a report commissioned by Wind Energy Ireland, conducted by KPMG, reveals skepticism among industry experts about Ireland reaching its 2030 target. The report cites planning delays, inadequate grid capacity, and a lack of cohesive policy development as major impediments.

Recommendations for Progress

To overcome these challenges, the report suggests several key actions. These include resourcing the planning system to eliminate bottlenecks, overhauling the national grid to accommodate renewable sources, and establishing a task force for the coordinated delivery of both offshore and onshore renewables. Collaboration among government, industry stakeholders, and agencies is seen as crucial to extend Ireland’s renewable energy capacity and meet its ambitious goals.

Ireland’s journey to scale up its renewable energy industry is fraught with challenges. However, the nation’s rich natural resources, existing project pipeline, and strong ambition offer hope. By addressing the identified obstacles and fostering collaboration, Ireland can potentially become a leader in Europe’s energy transition. The focus remains on pooling resources to overcome hurdles and deliver the required change, crucial for cutting carbon emissions and reducing dependency on imported fossil fuels. But the community needs to be brought into the pre-planning discussion at a significantly earlier stage and in a significantly more meaningful way.

For regular updates and insights into Ireland’s construction sector, stay informed at www.breakingground.news. Also, be sure to share your industry news by emailing editor@breakingground.news

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