Clean energy transition can be advanced, but key challenges need to be addressed
Ireland and the Nordic/Baltic countries (NB8) have set ambitious targets to achieving net zero, but it will mean radically adapting their renewable energy mix to meet those targets. The urgency at which the world needs to facilitate renewable energy development was raised at the second NB8 conference entitled ‘Advancing Energy Transition while Ensuring Energy Security’.
Speaking at the event organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the NB8 Group, Statkraft Ireland’s MD Kevin O’Donovan said that there are a huge amount of positives to recognise such as the ambitious polices Ireland and other countries have in place, the support for climate change action from the public and the renewable energy pipeline that developers have ready to go.
O’Donovan said, “There is a worldwide understanding that there needs to be a step change in how we deliver our energy needs, and this is being supported by Government policies across the Irish and Nordic States. However, there are also some key challenges to address here in Ireland.”
“The big picture is there but there are some major issues like the planning process timelines and grid network system upgrades that could trip us up in delivering on our targets. We are waiting too long for planning decisions, and An Bord Pleanala needs to have a direct, and fully resourced, focus on projects that will deliver climate action. In terms of the grid, the approach to date has been fantastic, but we now need to relook at our system operator’s plans to realistically achieve the target of 80% renewables on the system by 2030.”
Statkraft's Kevin O'Dovovan speaking at the virtual NB8 event
Statkraft is currently developing a diverse range of renewable technologies with a total of 335MW in construction (two wind and two solar), which has enough clean energy to power over 100,000 homes and displace 200,000 tonnes of cardon. Statkraft is also progressing one of Ireland’s most advanced offshore wind farms and has a further 750MW of renewable projects with full planning permission.
O’Donovan concluded by saying that the State, developers and the public need to work collaboratively to achieve the clean energy transition. It’s time to work together towards making a clean energy future a reality.
Also speaking at the event was Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney TD and Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD as well as speakers from across the sector.