中 文
English
technical support
Product Recommend

WHY DO WE NEED WIND ENERGY?

Update Time:2014-04-07 14:28:16 Writer: Source:

By Claire O'Sullivan
Irish Examiner Reporter


Economy
   Secure, sustainable and competitive energy is fundamental to economic recovery and wellbeing, according to the Department of Energy’s Strategy for Renewable Energy.Meanwhile, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) says we have saved a billion euro in fossil fuel imports already through the development of our wind industry.The IWEA point to the significant land rents that farmers receive for hosting wind turbines and to the local authority rate intake of over €11m from commercial windfarms last year. But, submissions to the Department of the Environment from groups opposed to windfarms point to the damage to tourism and agrifoods industry.The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, the Irish Jockeys’ Association, the Irish Racehorse Trainers’ Association, and the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners have warned that wind turbines, if not “placed at a suitable and appropriate distance” will pose a “very real risk” that could threaten international investment in the Irish horse industry.

Security of supply
   Russia’s annexation of Crimea has once again shone the spotlight on how energy insecure we are in Ireland having to import up to 85% of our energy. Wind energy and other renewables offer us indigenous and clean security in the face of political uncertainty or fuel shortages. The minister for energy has said experts have told him “we don’t have the biomass” to deliver our EU renewable targets from this source and most other renewable are only at research stage and so wind makes the most sense for us.
   But the Irish Academy of Engineers and economists like Senator Sean Barrett of Trinity College Dublin are arguing however that energy security can be most economically and competitively managed by completing the Corrib project, storing gas and encouraging the construction on a commercial basis of an LNG regasification plant. Shannon LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) want to import US gas as it’s now one-third of the price of European gas. “The proposed terminal in Co Kerry would give Ireland unfettered access to global gas supplies thereby eliminating our dependence on decisions made in the UK regarding gas acquisition,” said a Shannon LNG spokesman.

Jobs
   With approximately 400,000 Irish people signing on, Ireland badly needs to create jobs — and even those opposed to the massive Mainstream, Element and Bord na Móna projects, which would bring up over 1000 turbines to the Midlands, can’t deny this.
   “As a society we may have to make a trade off when it comes to jobs, for example people in coal mining regions know there is a residual side-effect to mining but that it will bring general employment to the area. If I thought there were tens of thousands of permanent jobs from these big wind projects, I would have to sit back down with my concerns and give it serious consideration,” says Labour senator John Whelan, who has repeatedly questioned the cost-benefit analysis of the Midlands project.
   Eddie O’Connor from Mainstream Renewable Power, which wants to export 5GW of Irish wind energy to the UK, has previously acknowledged the low domestic job count from wind saying only 10% of the jobs created from Ireland’s existing turbines were actually in Ireland. He argues though that the Midlands export project would be a “game changer” as its scale could potentially attract industry such as turbine manufacture to the area.
Earlier, this month referring to the Element, Mainstream and Bord na Móna export projects, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said 6,500 jobs are likely during construction, along with permanent care and maintenance posts that would “run into the hundreds”.
   The reality is that the long-term jobs figures from wind energy will be nothing like the bonanza that is being suggested unless Ireland does become a turbine manufacturing base. According to a recent ESRI/TCD report on job creation, the majority of jobs in wind energy are in the manufacture of turbines and their associate parts. Ireland doesn’t have a comparative advantage internationally in the mechanical engineering sector but the report does note an Irish advantage in software and IT design.
   “Design of systems for control and management for smart grids etc is likely to be a more fruitful field for future investment and employment. However, such activity is likely to be driven by world demand rather than purely domestic forces” says the report commissioned by the IWEA.
CEO of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEAI), Dr Brian Motherway, says it’s estimated that 10 jobs are generated by every one turbine installed — but he too concedes that all these jobs may not be in Ireland.
   “Wind is more labour intensive than importing gas for energy, it’s thousands of jobs versus tens of thousands. If we were to build more wind here manufacturers may choose to base in Britain or Ireland to save on shipping costs as they do tend to locate in nearby regions. It all depends on what strategy we adopt, we will have to look at the value chain and work out which area to focus on so we can maximise job creation.”

更多