Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today called for planning agencies to be better resourced, the establishment of MARA to be accelerated and an investment plan for our ports to be outlined, to help accelerate the delivery of offshore wind energy.
His comments come as data published by the EPA show emissions rose by 4.7% in 2021, with a worrying spike in emissions from the energy sector in particular.
The Meath East TD said:
“It is alarming to see a jump of 17.6% in emissions from the energy sector last year.
“This is before the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine is factored in, which has seen a significant increase in coal use at Moneypoint in 2022 due to the oil embargo, which will further push up emissions this year.
“There really should be no excuse for our energy sector’s emissions to be rising at this rate, considering we have an almost unlimited supply of green energy off our coasts.
“Government response that ‘we can’t build offshore wind farms overnight’ rings hollow when Fine Gael have been in government for 11 years now.
“Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing a plan that will accelerate the delivery of offshore wind and green hydrogen at the pace that’s required.
“We need to provide the funding and resources to agencies such as An Bord Pleanála to ensure that planning delays are avoided. But this isn’t happening.
“For example, last year An Bord Pleanála received approval to hire eight additional staff for their Marine and Climate Unit.
“An insufficient number in our opinion, but more worryingly, information I have recently received shows just three of these staff have been hired to date.
“We still do not have an investment plan to prepare our ports for turbine construction and maintenance, and the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority won’t be established until mid-2023.
“Last week, as Sinn Féin’s Green Hydrogen Strategy Bill was being debated in the Dáil, the EU Commission waived State Aid rules for €5.4 billion worth of hydrogen projects across 15 EU member states.
“Ireland was not one of them, as we have no Hydrogen Strategy, and we are behind the curve again in this area.
“The increase in emissions from the energy sector highlights the need for a step-change in the pace of delivery across the board.”