To have a fair chance of limiting the global temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees by 2100, European carbon emissions need to be reduced by more than 95% by 2050. The development of offshore renewable energy will play a fundamental role in protecting our environment and NISA has the capacity to play a major role in this for Ireland.
In its Climate Action Plan, the Government has committed to increasing its offshore wind production by 3.5 GW in the next ten years. If built out to full capacity, then NISA will fulfil one-seventh of this commitment on its own. NISA has the capacity to power a half a million Irish homes using clean, renewable Irish resources, minimising our reliance on fossil fuels. This project makes sense not only for our future generations but for the here and now. Through careful design development, this proposal will form a step change in addressing the climate change challenges that we all face.
Investment and jobs
As well as the need for renewable energy to reduce our carbon emissions and combat climate change, renewable energy brings significant macroeconomic benefits. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has estimated that onshore and offshore wind generation could create over 20,000 direct installation and operation and maintenance jobs by 2040. Offshore wind creates employment opportunities in manufacturing, construction, scientific research and electricity generation, with offshore wind developers providing training to create the high-skilled workforce required. A report by Cambridge Econometrics on the UK economy found that, compared to a future system relying on gas, large-scale investment in offshore wind would see a GDP increase of 0.8% by 2030.
With the increase of the carbon tax rate announced in last year’s budget, unless we increase our renewable energy output, energy bills will increase. The cost of producing renewable energy has decreased dramatically over the last few years and will likely continue to do so. These two factors together mean that more renewable energy will result in reduced energy bills for families and businesses.
In 2017 Ireland imported 66% of its energy from abroad. With changing political climates and fossil fuel resources worldwide decreasing, it would not be wise for us as a country to continue to rely on imported energy to this degree.
Imported energy is predominantly in the form of fossil fuels, are not only polluting and adding to the climate change challenge, but are also finite. By investing in renewable energy, we can reduce our reliance on imports and increase our energy security.