Launching its renewable energy strategy, the Irish government today announced that it will meet its goal of generating 40% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020. The government also confirmed that it is engaged in trade talks with Britain to export renewable energy.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said he will be meeting with UK energy minister, Charles Hendry over the next month to iron out a bi-lateral trade agreement to export excess wind and other renewable energy to the UK. Britain is open to exporting clean energy in order to meet its growing energy demand while it continues to build its renewable energy infrastructure.
Minister Rabbite said Ireland has the potential to export around six to seven gigawatts of energy to Britain -- this is the equivalent Ireland's annual domestic energy consumption.
According to Rabitte, Ireland is poised to capture the bounty of the evolving European low carbon economy: "As the European Union moves to decarbonise its energy systems there will be a real demand in Europe for carbon free electricity. Our coastal location gives us a real advantage in having natural resources of real scale and significance."
To date, Ireland has 1,379 megawatts of installed wind power capacity. In 2010, wind farms provided 12% of the country's energy needs, powering over 753,000 domestic households. Nevertheless, the government has been criticized for not instituting a plan to spur the nation's renewables industry.
Image credit: Ireland Wind Energy Association
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