National energy policy is geared towards improving efficiency in overall energy use and towards increasing the proportion of renewable resources employed in our energy mix. Given Ireland's lack of self-sufficiency in energy supplies it is also important that we continue to seek new sources of conventional fossil fuels which are set to dominate our energy inputs for the foreseeable future. GSI has a continuing role to play in supporting these policy objectives; indeed energy projects have become a key priority of its mission.
GSI continues to acquire geological knowledge and geoscience datasets, both onshore and offshore, which support the continued exploration for and exploitation of fossil fuels. Offshore, GSI has in recent years funded deep seismic surveys which are the basis of fundamental geophysical research and will underpin future commercial assessments of hydrocarbons potential in the Rockall-Hatton region. Research under the Griffith Geoscience Research Awards will bolster this aim. The datasets of the Irish National Seabed Survey, undertaken in cooperation with the Marine Institute, constitute a planning resource for more detailed exploration surveys as well as for site exploration and assessment wells.
Renewable energy resources are increasingly being identified in Ireland, both onshore and offshore. GSI datasets are used in both environments to establish suitable ground conditions as well as to establish the relationship of sites to areas of geological heritage.
Given Ireland's high reliance on fossil fuels for its energy, there is considerable national focus on trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Geoscience contributes to the National Climate Change Strategy through a consideration of the potential for permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide, especially where it is generated in significant quantities at a point source. During 2007 GSI was involved in initiating a desk study led by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) on the potential for such storage both offshore and onshore in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is scheduled for completion in mid-2008. GSI also acted as the lead technical partner in another carbon dioxide storage project funded by the EPA, which is designed to assess the prospects for carbon dioxide storage in the neighbourhood of the coal-fired Moneypoint Power Station. This work will be complemented by research in three contracts under the Griffith Geoscience Research Awards.
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