Fianna Fáil is determined to lead a green revolution in Galway by making the city into a a sustainable energy zone and Ireland’s leading centre of energy efficiency, alternative energy research and development.
On Tuesday, Galway West TD Frank Fahey outlined some of the initiatives Fianna Fáil councillors will introduce following June’s Local Elections. He said the next development plan will see Galway lead the construction of sustainable urban infrastructure and become Ireland’s leader in climate change technology.
The Government aims to have 40 per cent of all electricity needs provided by renewable energy by 2020 and Dep Fahey said Fianna Fail councillors will “drive this agenda at council level” under a new development plan to make Galway a sustainable energy zone.
They will also propose that the city be included in a group of sustainable European cities under Concerto, a European Commission initiative in which 45 European communities are already involved.
Fianna Fáil will also initiate a public consultation process to assess views on locating a wind turbine on Mutton Island.
“This would provide some of the city’s electricity supply, especially its public lighting,” said Dep Fahey. “The city’s western location it is ideally positioned for such a project.”
The party is also proposing that the Galway City Council establish a new strategic policy committee to bring about environment change in the city; establish an alternative energy task force to plan and implement the introduction of alternative energy and energy saving; and establish formal relationships between Galway and the most sustainable cities in Europe such as Freiburg (Germany ) and Amsterdam so that Galway can emulate best practice models.
FF has also called on Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to designate Galway as the location for industry involved in the research and development of equipment for alternative energy industries. Dep Fahey said the experience of Denmark - where 200 companies in the manufacture of wind turbines and other equipment have been established in the last 30 years - should be examined.
Thermo King and C& F Tooling and other high precision light engineering companies have been asked to consider the establishment of a manufacturing sector in Galway for wind turbines, solar, and photovoltaic panels and other products for the alternative energy industry.
“Galway will become a centre of excellence for research and manufacturing in alternative energy technology,” said Dep Fahey. “Discussions are taking place at present with companies involved in biomass energy production and district heating with a view to their location in Galway.”
The party’s ambitious plan not only includes Galway city and its industries, but also makes proposals for City Hall and the way the Galway City Council carries out its business.
The plan seeks a ‘retrofit’ of City Hall with roof solar panels to reduce energy consumption. The new Galway Green Energy Company Go Glass has been asked to carry out a feasibility study on the project.
FF will call on the next mayor to establish an alternative energy task force to plan and implement the introduction of alternative energy and energy saving in the city. The Energy Research Centre NUI, Galway, The Environmental Research Centre GMIT, ESB International, and the Marine Institute, will be invited to participate in this.