National Mitigation Plan Consultation – A Call To Action For The Renewable Energy Sector

The Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has launched a public consultation on the draft National Mitigation Plan. The consultation calls for submissions from renewable energy sector stakeholders before 26 April 2017 with a view to reducing Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions. We examine the scope of the Plan and the importance of a robust response from industry participants.

In a previous article, we referred to Ireland's Climate Change Bill as representing "More Aspiration than Perspiration" and we observed that for new substantive policy measures, those involved in the energy sector would need to wait and see what the Government planned.

The Irish Government is now asking the market to help it plan towards the reduction of Ireland's level of greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act (the "Act"), which was enacted in late 2015, requires the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (the "Minister") to submit to the Government a National Mitigation Plan (the "Plan"). The Plan must be submitted by 10 June 2017.

In March 2017, the Minister launched the statutory public consultation on the Plan. Submissions on the draft National Mitigation Plan can be made up to 26 April 2017.

The Plan is intended as a roadmap for the policy measures that will be employed in order to manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Once implemented, the Plan will be subject to a review every five years. According to the Act, "relevant bodies" such as the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), the Commission for Energy Regulation and EirGrid must "have regard to" the Plan in the performance of their functions.

Implications for Wind Energy

The draft Plan includes four chapters, addressing the "Electricity Generation", "Built Environment", "Transport and Agriculture", and "Forest and Land Use" sectors. These chapters provide the relevant sectoral policy context, the greenhouse gas emissions trends for each sector, the opportunities and challenges, the measures which are currently in place and those which are under consideration.

The draft Plan recognises wind energy as having been the main driver of growth in Irish renewable electricity generation, although it acknowledges that the installation of a further 880MW of on-shore wind is required by 2020 in order to achieve Ireland's 2020 RES-E target.

When looking forward to the period from 2020 to 2030, the draft Plan indicates an intention to...

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