Friday, May 15, 2009

Spirit of Ireland


Re-Birth of Irish Initiative
or just
Pie in the Sky?

I am sure many of you will have by now heard of the “Spirit of Ireland” energy initiative which was launched just over a week ago by Graham O’Donnell, an electronics engineer, who has personally funded the launch of this worthy idea.

Ireland the land of “Rip Off” of “Gombeeen Men” of the “Brown Envelope Politics” of the “Nod and a Wink Strategy” with our Government behaving like rabbits caught in the headlamps, could well do with a galvanising co-operative initiative of some sort.

I congratulate Graham and his colleagues for taking this very brave step and wish the initiative every success, why wouldn't I, we will all benefit if it works. I recommend you take a look at the website and consider the proposals.

Some Serious Questions.

I do have some serious questions, not so much about the proposed engineering strategies, which are way beyond my ability to evaluate, but about the structure and strategies of an organisation that would aim to manage such a vast undertaking.

While applauding the initiative and wishing it every success, I have made my concerns known to “Spirit of Ireland”.

Posted on “Spirit of Ireland”

Before I could fully subscribe to any project, club, or organisation, there are a number of questions I would feel I have to ask regarding its structure. I have outlined here a set of basic questions about "Spirit of Ireland", by no means comprehensive, which I am hoping can be directly addressed and fully answered. That answers may not as yet exist for some of the posed question might indicate a lack of planning in the most fundamental foundation of the movement, and could well mitigate against its ultimate success.

I offer these questions in a constructive spirit, not implying criticism or in any way acting subversively.

1. What is the status of the named “Team” in "Spirit of Ireland"?
2. Who owns what?
3. Who makes policy and decisions?
4. How are working decisions made?
5. Who is in charge of what, what structure has the management?
6. How does someone get on the management team?
7. How does someone get sent off the management team?
8. Who gets paid for what, and who doesn’t?
9. Constitution of “Spirit of Ireland”, can we see a copy?
10. What organisational policies exist to date, and how flexible are these?
11. What planned projects exist to date, apart from the wind-hydro idea on the site, and are they set in stone or open to consultation?
12. What are the general rules for members?
13. What is the legal position of “Spirit of Ireland”?
14. How are projects to be funded?
15. What are the responsibilities implied by taking membership?

Some Published Opinions.

Other people with views and reservations, both technical and organisational, have voiced their opinions:

An opinion published in the Irish Times by Ray Kinsella.

Michael Hennigan of Finfacts 12th May 2009 has some strong views:

Professor Philip Walton Galway has some serious technical issues with the “Spirit of Ireland” Wind-Hydro proposal.



Neil said...

As with the Finfacts article, there is little or no detail concerning the economics of the proposal.
What will this electricity cost per kw/h versus say coal, gas or nuclear.
I have already asked the website questions some days ago but have had no response.
Comments from the webpage that this is decision that must be made by the people of Ireland and trumpeting energy independence are not encouraging.
Any information on the above is welcome.

Pat said...

I believe that Spirit of Ireland have possibly made one big mistake in their public awareness campaign to date, they have not managed to convey an appreciation of the problem, to which they can provide an extensive and comprehensive solution. This problem is simply that the grid and power generation infrastructure as it has evolved since Ardnacrusha in 1929, cannot cope with the intermittent nature of renewable energy, and as electricity cannot be stored in large amounts, having a large amount of renewable energy powering the grid would lead to instability . The core piece of infrastructure offered by Spirit of Ireland, the hydro storage units, should in my opinion be emphasised over the wind element of the proposal.

Pat gill