5 October 2021
The Government aims to have up to 80 per cent of electricity to be from renewable sources by the end of the decade.
The figure was just one of many in yesterday’s launch of the National Development Plan (NDP) review, which also included almost €13 billion in funding to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) to aid the transition to a “climate neutral Ireland”.
Other commitments included using carbon tax funds to help meet the Government’s target of retrofitting half a million homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and the installation of 600,000 heat pumps.
The financial injection into the Department is a trebling of its normal budget and “reflects the sheer scale of ambition and pace that we have set out in the recent Climate Act,” according to Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan.
He added that climate and environmental measures of all NDP measures have been undertaken for the first time in an effort to make sure that “the NDP supports our climate ambitions”.
In order for nearly four-fifths of our electricity to be renewable sourced by the end of the decade, offshore renewable energy will be critical, according to the Department.
The field is “the biggest economic opportunity that our State has ever seen”, Minister Ryan said.
Tens of billions will be needed in private investment in order to meet the offshore wind target of 5 gigawatts by the end of the decade and Minister Ryan said the NDP outlines the Government’s approach to do just that.
The Plan is also set to support a shift to a Circular Economy by supporting initiatives such as the introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme.
Speaking yesterday on DriveTime, Dr Cara Augustenborg noted that although there were mentions of climate assessments in the Plan, “there’s still no climate bravery in terms of making the really tough decisions on things like road projects and what to build considering we only have so much money and we only have so much labour.”
“So if we’re really serious about tackling climate change, we need to start making those hard decisions on what we build and what we don’t build,” she added.
Sustainable transport advocacy group Dublin Commuter Coalition expressed their disappointment about the lack of concrete projected completion dates for the MetroLink and DART+ in response to the Plan.
The group also highlighted that in terms of completed projects in the Dublin area, the new NDP contains exactly what was supposed to be completed by 2027 in its older iteration with the potential for Luas Finglas to progress to construction stage.
“With three additional years and the recent commitments to reducing our carbon emissions by 51 per cent, we were hoping for a lot more than that,” Coalition member John Cleary said.