Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin this week welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte on the commencement of the first phase of public consultation on the proposed Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework.
The Ballina based Dáil Deputy said: “The buy in of local communities is vital for Ireland’s transition to renewable energy. This consultation process will give individuals and communities the opportunity to give their viewpoint on how we should develop national policy to realise our significant wind energy potential.”
Dep Mulherin in her time as councillor on Mayo County Council, played one of the leading roles in drafting the council’s renewable energy strategy which was being put together at the time she was elected to the Dáil in 2011. She went on to say this week: “Community acceptance is essential in order for us to develop our indigenous natural resource of wind energy. There is significant potential for Ireland to export electricity to Britain and continental Europe. And there is excellent potential for the use of wind generated energy in our domestic market. This can go some way to reducing our massive dependency on fossil fuels, most of which we import, and currently supplies approximately 95 per cent of our energy needs in this country. One of the biggest challenges to the development of our green economy is the acceptance of local communities. There needs to be a national dialogue about why we need to construct energy infrastructure; how it can be achieved safely with minimum impact on human beings and our environment; and what the real benefits to local communities and the greater population can be including community gain and attracting investment that leads to jobs in the short and longer terms.”