Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that ‘achieving Ireland’s renewable energy transformation and energy independence must be a national mission’.
Addressing the Wind Energy Ireland Annual Conference in Dublin this morning, Ms McDonald said that the wind energy industry has achieved impressive progress in the last year despite the government and the state not pulling its weight to achieve Ireland’s energy revolution.
Teachta McDonald said:
“Industry is up and at it, playing its part. The expertise and enthusiasm in this room is tangible. You are answering the call to scale up Ireland’s wind energy production and to meet Ireland’s 2030 climate action targets, and beyond.
“Last year saw a record level of wind energy capacity enter the planning process. The momentum from industry is undeniable and it should be irresistible.
“However, the state is not pulling its weight in Ireland’s energy revolution. The government has yet to get its act together, yet to bring the pace, urgency, and ambition, yet to deliver the plan and actions required to realise the full potential of wind energy in Ireland.
“As a result, barriers and bottlenecks persist.
“The planning system remains slow, under-resourced, adversarial, and racked
with uncertainty. The Electricity Grid is not a grid built for the 21st century and lacks sufficient capacity. We also need government to prioritise the building of a workforce with the necessary skills and experience to deliver energy independence and security, and to achieve our targets.
“The drive to take Ireland’s wind energy production to the next level must come from the very centre of government and that drive is absent.
“The impetus from the government to get wind projects up and running to the scale required simply isn’t there. The vital all-of-government – shoulders behind the wheel – approach is missing. Government has failed to grasp that our renewable energy transformation and the push towards energy independence in our time must be a national mission.
“Government must be inspired, motivated, and fully mobilised behind the vision
of an Ireland that can power itself – in a way that is clean, sustainable, secure, and translates into affordable energy for workers, families, and businesses.”
Ms McDonald said that to realise the immense opportunity of renewable energy and energy independence for Ireland, Sinn Féin in government would prioritise delivering a planning system that is efficient and fit for purpose, modernising our grid infrastructure, and would drive the training, upskilling, and reskilling necessary to develop a workforce capable of delivering Ireland renewable energy revolution.
She said that Sinn Féin in government would work in collaboration with the renewable sector and wider society “to bring the pace, urgency, vision, and the can-do attitude that the state is currently lacking”.
“A Sinn Féin government would sort the delays in our planning system, invest in our public infrastructure, and work in collaboration with business, semi-states, and international partners, to realise investment opportunities.
“We want to work in partnership with you to generate, to create, to innovate, to succeed. We understand the gravity and the urgency, but we also understand the opportunity that must be seized.”
Mary Lou McDonald’s full address to the 2024 Wind Energy Ireland Annual Conference can be read here.