Professor Walton has drawn attention to the serious problem of Ireland’s future energy supply, and has pointed out the fruitlessness of relying on wind power to provide the solution.
Coincidentally, last week the high-status Irish Academy of Engineering published its important report Energy policy and economic recovery 2010-2015.
This was written by a number of eminent engineers, whose advice should be heeded by the incoming government. Among some of the Academy’s more salient warnings are:
The aim of producing 40% of electricity from wind power by 2020 is not appropriate because:
- It would involve capital expenditure of the order of €10bn at a time when no new generating capacity is required.
- It would result in a high percentage of conventional plant not being used. In economic terms this is equivalent to partial stranding of these assets and is a very serious issue for the economics of the power industry generally.
- It is a relatively expensive form of electricity generation and an extremely expensive way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- The suggestion that large scale wind energy production could be exported in a commercially profitable way is without any sound economic basis. Professor Walton has called attention to need to consider seriously the obvious alternative.
- Nuclear power.
The new government should therefore urgently establish an expert committee to assess the whole matter objectively.