Green Party Energy policy launched

The Green Party today launched its Energy policy and called on all political parties to engage in a partnership approach with the aim of establishing common long-term energy goals.

Green Party Leader Trevor Sargent TD said today that, “With oil at over
$60 a barrel, and massive hikes in gas and electricity bills, we need
urgently to reduce our 90 per cent dependency on fossil fuels for our
energy needs.

“We are committed to working with other parties to make sure we address
the energy problems facing us and realise the potential benefits of a
new renewable energy policy. Since its foundation, the Green movement
has put the development of energy efficiency and new renewable
resources at the heart of its political agenda.

“The challenge for any serious energy policy maker is to try and ensure
we have a cheap, secure and clean source of energy supply.
Unfortunately, a series of recent governments have shirked that

“Our vision is that by 2050 Ireland can depend on renewable energy
supplies for all its energy needs. We will achieve that by being more
efficient in the way we use energy and by rapidly developing some of
the 21 different renewable technologies available to us.”

Green Party Energy spokesperson Eamon Ryan TD said that, “Energy
policymakers have to take a view several decades into the future but
politicians rarely look beyond the next election. Countries such as
Denmark have got around this problem by getting cross-party agreement
on certain long-term energy goals. We believe the opportunity now
exists for such an approach to be adopted here.

“Involving industry and other representative bodies in such a
partnership approach would help create the predictable environment
within which households and businesses can invest in new energy
efficient technologies.

“For example, six of the seven parties in the Danish Parliament have
just agreed a new Energy Savings in Buildings Initiative this summer.
The measures include one-stop shop approach for the installation of
domestic energy improvements. In a standard 1920’s house they estimate
a 47% reduction in the energy use can be achieved, giving a €53,000
payback to the owner over 30 years on an initial borrowed investment of

“The Green Party has proposed that a new committee be set up under the
Joint Oireachtas Committee for Communications Marine and Natural
Resources to develop such a partnership approach. Including members of
the main political parties and outside bodies with an expertise in the
energy area, it would collaborate directly with the Department on the
new White Paper on Energy Policy.

“This is about bringing policy formulation back to where it should
belong, which is within Dáil Éireann. It is also about developing the
existing partnership process so that crucial environmental issues are
taken into account.

“The people will not thank their political representatives if we fail
to properly address this crucial issue. Our dependency on fossil fuels
makes us one of the most exposed countries in the world to any future
energy shock. Our use of these scarce resources has increased
dramatically in recent years; however the contribution of renewable
energies to our energy supply has remained static at less than 2%.

“Our electricity prices are consequently significantly above the
European average and the bill for carbon emissions from power
generation alone is likely to cost the taxpayer at least €50 million
next year. Meanwhile 60 per cent of the energy used in power generation
currently disappears up the chimney in the form of unused waste heat.
This is more than the entire amount of energy used in the Irish
residential sector each year.”

Green Party Deputy Leader Cllr Mary White said that, “This new
renewable energy future provides huge opportunities for Irish farmers.
New biomass crops for power generation will provide the perfect
complement to the variable wind supplies that farmers should also be
able to develop.
Existing forests and new coppicing techniques can provide the wood pellets for new high tech wood heating systems.”

“The Green Party has consistently called for the removal of the duty on
biofuels so that this new industry becomes established. We would commit
oil companies to including a minimum 5% blend of biofuels in any fuel
supply With the closure of the Sugar Company the opportunity exists for
the farmers to grow beet for bioethanol and oil seed rape for pure
plant oil or biodiesel. Exempting duty will allow the fledgling
industry to get up and running, supporting farmers, protecting the
environment with a reduction in emissions. It is a win-win situation.

“Transport will still be the area where we are going to have the
greatest difficulty as oil supplies run out.  Hydrogen supplies may
play a role but the real solution must be a change in our planning
system so that the need for long distance commuting is reduced.”

Cllr. David Healy Green Party spokesperson on Climate Change said that,
“The success of the Montreal Climate talks last week mean that
developed countries such as Ireland will have to start planning for
deep cuts in our Greenhouse Gas emissions. The energy sector accounts
for over two thirds of these emissions and it is an area where real
reductions can occur with potential benefits for our economy.

“We need to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions to prevent further
environmental damage. Also, the reality is that we are facing an
imminent peak and subsequent drop in global oil production, which will
require us to kick our oil habit. Yet Ireland remains overly dependent
on imported oil supplies and we are currently investing billions in
taxpayer’s money in motorways which will not be needed as oil runs out.
We need to rethink all of our investment decisions.

“The Green Party is already making a real difference in implementing
this energy policy on the ground. Fingal County Council, on foot of
motions coming from the Green Party, is now requiring in its Local Area
Plans that all buildings would have a 50kWh per square metre annual
heating standard and that at least 30 per cent of this lower heating
demand would come from renewable sources. This would mean that the
heating bill for a typical 150 m2 house would be less than €225 a year. The result will be better
buildings and real economic and environmental gains for the local

Eamon Ryan TD                 01-618 3097 / 086 829 4429
Cllr. Mary White              087 270 7189
Trevor Sargent TD             01-618 3465 / 087 254 7836
Cllr David Healy              087 617 8852
Elaine Walsh Press Office           087 914 8175