September 7, 2022
Decade of energy policy failure will add to winter pressures – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said a decade of energy policy failure by successive Governments will add to energy supply and cost pressures this winter.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Rourke said:

“We are entering into a very challenging winter with the prospect of energy shortages and runaway prices. The Government must respond to address and to mitigate the worst effects of this.

“While they will rightly point to the fact that gas is being used as a weapon of war and that this has a direct impact on electricity supply and cost, they should also accept that there are very particular aspects of the energy crisis in Ireland that relate to a decade-long failure in energy policy here.

“Successive Governments have failed to competently balance electricity supply and demand – and as a result, the prospect of blackouts this winter remains a real possibility. The completely reckless approach to allow data centre development unabated is coming home to roost.

“This, coupled with an over-dependence on gas and the failure to deliver on the potential of our renewable energy resource will come at a cost this winter. Bureaucratic barriers to the rollout of renewables remain, including solar PV for homes, businesses, schools and public and community buildings remain. It makes no sense. 

“The rollout and activation of smart meters was delayed by years, starting only in late 2019, and is slow – denying many the option of availing of time of use tariffs.

“Similarly, instead of rolling out a comprehensive plan for energy retrofits during the 2010s, the decade was lost. 24,291 homes were retrofitted under the Warmer Home Scheme in 2010, for example. This reduced significantly year on year over the decade to 3,142 in 2019.

“It is clear that a decade of energy policy failure will add to pressure this winter. Government must accept this and respond to ensure ordinary workers and families – who bear no responsibility in the cause of the energy crisis – are protected.”