Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ireland: Fine Gael unveils €500m renewable energy plan

A €500m plan to generate 33% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2025 was today unveiled by Fine Gael.

Party leader Enda Kenny revealed incentives for motorists to use bio-fuel produced from renewable energy crops and plans to provide capital for bio-fuel producers. The Energy for the Future policy document will radically transform Ireland’s approach to renewable energy, he claimed.

It involves input from the party’s environment, transport, energy and agriculture spokespersons and approaches the need to secure long-term energy requirements. “It’s time for Ireland to get serious about renewable energy,” said Mr Kenny.

“In the absence of any co-ordinated strategy from the Government in this vital area it is timely that Fine Gael is publishing this policy.”

Mr Kenny said the proposals are being published in light of the major economic challenge that is posed by the international energy crisis facing us. “Rising oil prices, global instability and a general acceptance that oil reserves will grow less and less dependable should act as a wake up call for those who think we can continue as we are and not risk major economic problems in the decades that lie ahead.”

Recommendations in the plan include removal of all excise duty on bio fuel produced from renewable energy crops, grants to encourage householders to convert to renewable energy for home heating and creating a market for biofuels by legislating that all motor fuels must include a blend from renewable sources.

All public transport vehicles and public service vehicles would also convert to forms of bio fuel. The recommendations will cost €488m up to the year 2010, moving Ireland into what Fine Gael said would be a world-leading one on sustainable energy technology.

Mr Kenny said he hoped the policy would kick-start a national conscience regarding the environment. He said economists warn the days of €100 per barrel of oil may not be too far away. “This is not sensible and it is not sustainable,” he said. “We have to recognise the fact, and seek to change it, that Ireland’s consumption of renewable energy is extremely low. “The Fine Gael plan for alternative energy outlines how we will begin to tackle the problem of our over-dependence on imported, unclean energy and ensure that we can reach that ambitious target of 33% of our energy being generated from renewable sources.”

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