By Rory O’Brien and Rory OstermanThe Irish Times 3 February 2016 09:10:54Renewables are the future of the energy market.
This week, the Irish Government announced that it would invest more than €1bn in renewables in the coming five years.
The Government’s plan to increase the amount of renewable energy we can produce by 2.2GW over the next four years will mean that, on average, more than 10 per cent of the country’s electricity needs will be met by renewable energy sources in the next five years, up from about 7 per cent today.
But there are a number of challenges ahead.
Renewables are not just a renewable energy technology but a technology that needs to be developed in the right way to ensure they have a future in our energy mix.
That means building the right infrastructure, designing for the right climate, and ensuring that they are cost effective and environmentally friendly.
For example, the Government has committed to investing in renewable energy infrastructure to provide more reliable and efficient generation and transmission.
This will be vital to ensuring we have the right mix of supply and demand in the future, and also to ensure that there is enough electricity for the people of Ireland in the years to come.
And we are also committed to using more renewable energy resources to meet demand, including by supporting the development of wind, solar and other renewable technologies.
There are many other key challenges facing the sector, including the lack of a well-designed and efficient grid that supports all of the different energy sources.
For that reason, we are investing in the development and deployment of smart grids, which will make sure that all our energy needs can be met, and that we can always make the most of our renewable energy when we need it.
But all of these are just the beginning.
We are also investing in new, low-carbon technologies such as wind and solar, as well as batteries, storage and smart grids.
For the first time, the Energy Minister, Michael Creed, has recognised that renewable energy is a key part of our energy future, so we have been committed to a long-term and robust policy framework for renewable energy, and are now looking at what will happen over the coming years.
Renewable energy needs to play its part in helping the economy grow and create jobs.
That is why the Government is investing in a range of renewable infrastructure projects to support the construction of new and improved generation and storage technologies.
This includes the creation of a new renewable energy research centre, the Advanced Renewable Energy Technology Center (ARCET), to provide an interdisciplinary hub for renewable technology, and to develop and support innovative research into renewable energy.
This centre will be open to the public, and will support research into innovative technologies to support a sustainable energy future.
We have also announced that the Government will be investing in advanced technologies that can help our renewable generation and distribution systems to make use of new renewable technology to support our economy.
These include advanced technologies such that will be able to supply our generation, such as solar panels and wind turbines, and the development by the Irish Power Corporation of a low-emission power generation system that will provide an alternative to fossil fuels.
We also are looking at the development in the UK of renewable batteries and other energy storage technologies, which could have an impact on our national energy supply, and on the economy.
We will also be investing further in the creation and deployment and deployment on an industrial scale of renewable electric vehicles and wind and wave energy storage.
We know that there are huge opportunities in the sector for Ireland.
For instance, Ireland has the world’s largest renewable generation capacity, which is nearly two-thirds of our total power generation capacity.
This is important because Ireland’s generation capacity is already among the best in Europe, and we need to ensure we have a strong and reliable supply of generation to meet the needs of the future.
The government will also invest in a new National Renewable Fuel Standard (NRFS) and a new Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme, which aims to ensure a reliable and low-cost supply of electricity to households, businesses and the public.
These new initiatives are vital to the continued development of the renewable energy sector.
The Department of Energy has also announced the establishment of a national Renewable Infrastructure Fund (RIF) to help support projects that are needed in the short and medium term.
This fund will help fund projects to create and deliver energy systems that will help the sector grow, while protecting the environment and reducing carbon emissions.
In addition, the government is also investing €1.2bn in the national carbon market.
The goal of the national market is to reduce carbon emissions, and it will enable companies to make investments to reduce their carbon footprint and make investments that will increase the efficiency of their supply chains and services.
This initiative will allow us to make better use of our electricity, and help us build an economy that is greener, more efficient and more sustainable.
We recognise that this new policy is