There is a real danger of an energy shortage in Ireland due to an over emphasis on renewable energy produced by wind, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Outlining his concerns, the representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency said: “Looking at preliminary data for December, there was a total of 7 days in December when wind energy only met approximately 20% of the actual demand, and on three of those days that figure was below 10%.

“If you look at today’s figures on the Eirgrid website, the level of actual wind generation has struggled to get above 1,000MW at any given time. On December 6th, the level of actual wind generation dropped to just 2MW for a period of time.

“On the other hand, if you look at the figures for demand, those haven’t dropped below 5,000MW since 8am this morning and demand is set to peak this evening at 5.30pm at approximately 6,700MW.

“Now this Government and its Green Agenda will point towards a lofty target of increasing the generation of electricity via offshore wind turbines by 5GW by 2030; but these targets will remain aspirational if the national grid isn’t upgraded to accommodate the additional power.

“We can try and generate all the power in the world, but if we can’t create it at times when its needed then the efforts will be pointless.

“I believe the de-commissioning of the power plants in Shannonbridge and Lanesboro is a rushed move which we may live to regret.

“I am also led to believe that private companies approached the ESB with a proposal to run these power plants on fuels other than peat – but their approaches were turned down.

“If we continue to place all of our eggs in one basket, it could come back to bite us. What if we experience a prolonged period of reduced wind power?

“Have we any back-up organised? We need to ask ourselves if we are just cutting off our nose to spite our face?

“In a recent article in the Sunday Independent, Conor Skehan outlined that multi-nationals now viewed Ireland as unattractive on a European scale due to fears over a lack of reliable sources of energy to meet demand.

“While talking up the Green Economy is all good and well, when an energy shortage occurs and Ireland loses employment as a result – it will be the people who will suffer most. And where will all the high-ranking CEOs be who led us down this path? More than likely retired to greener pastures.

“It is time politicians woke up. I predicted this a few years ago and now it is coming to pass.

“I am led to believe that the IDA cannot guarantee multi-national companies who want to set up in this country a reliable power supply and that companies looking to set up data centers, for example, are being advised to incorporate their own on-site energy generating stations.

“If that is the case, then we might as well hold up a sign saying we are closed for business.

“If the government and the IDA do not take immediate action, then it will cost the country jobs. Decisions are being made now, which will have an impact for years to come, and we cannot be idle on this matter.

“Media reports today indicate that the Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO) issued an amber alert to power suppliers yesterday, due to a fear over potential power cuts.

“There are a number of industries, including pharmaceutical, which depend on a continuous supply of power and there are detrimental consequences if a power cut occurs. We cannot afford to let these amber alerts become the norm,” he concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice – 0861914565

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