IRELAND IS facing a “serious bottleneck” in meeting ambitious renewable energy targets for 2020 and needs to accelerate the delivery of wind power projects, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA)

The association’s chief executive Dr Michael Walsh yesterday cited

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the latest European figures showing that Ireland was still “very much

at the back of the class” in terms of wind installations.

The

figures show that just 0.7 per cent of wind capacity in all 27 EU

member states was installed here in 2007 – well short of what was

needed to meet the target of 40 per cent for renewables by 2020.

“We

need to start accelerating project delivery so we do not end up in a

bottleneck as we approach 2020 and miss out on a significant employment

opportunity for the Irish economy,” Dr Walsh said.

Noting that

Ireland, along with Scotland, has the best wind resources in Europe, he

said that with wind energy’s market share of only 1.4 per cent here we

are not delivering on anything like our potential.

Given the

comparative levels of wind resource, Ireland should be significantly

outperforming continental Europe, where wind had an average 6.6 per

cent market share (excluding newer EU states).

Dr Walsh said the

lack of alternative natural energy resources in Ireland also meant that

we were highly sensitive to imported energy prices and this should be

an added impetus to expand wind.

At the current rate of

installation, he said, it was likely that we would have to bring in

companies from abroad to carry out work that Irish companies should

have been able to do cheaper and sooner.

The IWEA intends to

mark Global Wind Day on June 15th by outlining a road map that would

set out a future for the industry and steady increases in activity per

year over the next decade.

Seven wind farms will be open to the public on the day and Dr Walsh urged members of the public to visit these.

Further information on Global Wind Day is available on www.iwea.com

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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