Ireland commits to 70% renewables with new action plan

The Galway wind farm in Ireland. Image: SSE

June 18 (Renewables Now) - The Irish government on Monday released the country’s Climate Action Plan for 2019, which calls for a 70% renewables share in the total power mix by 2030.

The ambitious plan almost triples the current 4.5 GW renewables capacity goal for 2030 as it calls for the installation of up to 8.2 GW of onshore wind, at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind and up to 1.5 GW of grid-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. This new capacity will be deployed through a competitive framework of auctions and corporate contracting.

To achieve the 70% renewable electricity goal, the country plans to phase out coal and peat-fired electricity generation, while expanding renewables and reinforcing its grid through new interconnections that will allow power transfers between Ireland and other countries. This includes the Celtic Interconnector to France and further interconnection to the UK. Additionally, Ireland intends to put systems in place that will manage intermittent sources of power, especially from wind, according to the report.

On the regulatory side, Ireland will streamline the consenting and connection process both for onshore and offshore wind, and open up community and citizen participation in new renewable energy projects. The action plan will also see the country meet 15% of its electricity demand with renewable energy sources contracted under corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The ambitious agenda sets Ireland on a path to net zero carbon footprint by 2050. The report suggests 180 actions to curb the nation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) and tackle the climate emergency with specific measures in the transportation, agriculture, waste and building sectors. Among those is the increase in carbon taxes, energy retrofits for the housing segment, as well as the acceleration of electric vehicles (EVs) adoption with a national target for 950,000 EVs on the road by 2030. By that year, all new cars and vans will be EV, while the blend proportion of biofuels in road transport will be lifted to 10% in petrol and 12% in diesel.

The report also notes that micro-generation, anaerobic digestion, biomass, heat recovery, carbon capture and biomethane technologies will come to maturity and bring new business opportunities in support of the national renewables goal.

The Action Plan will be monitored quarterly and updated annually to include more actions, the government said.

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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