Economic Benefits
Geology Matters No. 14
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Energy Trading creates opportunities for Ireland and UK

On January 24th, the Minister for Communications Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD, and the UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, MP signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work closely together to secure economic benefits for both Ireland and the U.K. through trade in renewable energy.

Minister Rabbitte said "Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume domestically. The opportunity to export this green power presents an opportunity for employment growth and export earnings which we must seize if we can. Today the two Governments are committing themselves to a programme of work"

UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey and Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D.
The UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, MP and
Minister for Communications Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD.

The Memorandum of Understanding affirms the two States’ commitment to:

  • maintaining a strong partnership on energy issues;
  • achieve closer integration of electricity markets, and
  • maximise the sustainable use of low carbon renewable energy resources.

The MOU will trigger detailed analysis of how Irish renewable energy resources, onshore and offshore, might be developed to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Any such trading of renewable energy between the two States will seek to achieve more cost efficient use of resources, drive down deployment costs, be sustainable in the long term, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

If analysis shows that renewables trading would be to mutual benefit, the next stage would be to develop an inter-governmental agreement for signing in 2014. A tight timeline is essential if potential projects, which would be selected through an open competitive process, are to commence exporting wind energy from Ireland to the United Kingdom by 2020.

From a GSI perspective the agreement with the UK is likely to stimulate further interest in development of wind energy both on and off shore, and further interaction with our stakeholders. Already INFOMAR is involved in mapping areas suitable for marine renewable energy, frequently in consultation with SEAI. While onshore GSI is a statutory consultee in relation to wind farm development, particularly in relation to the dangers of peat failures and landslides.