Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ryan's Air and the ESRI Recommendation


Last November I reported a "cunning plan"  by the then Minister for Energy Eamonn Ryan to invest colossal amounts of money in off-shore wind. I felt strongly at the time that the idea was not well thought out, either technically or financially.

A just published recommendation by the ESRI the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland would seem to fully bear out my gut instinct.

The ESRI  Recommendation

“Probably the most important change in the REFIT scheme should be the ending of REFIT incentives for offshore wind and wave and tidal generation. It is premature to incentivise substantial investment in such technologies and it could prove very expensive for the Irish economy, while bringing little or no environmental benefits. Meanwhile, limited taxpayer funds should be provided for research into these technologies as part of Ireland’s research effort.”

My Blog post at the time
Ryan’s Air
hopefully not just Hot Air!

Big wind is afoot. No - not a storm. Irish energy Minister Eamonn Ryan has just announced a kick off of some big plans for massive offshore wind farms. Hold up there - plans - just plans at this stage.

The idea is to construct, over the coming years, off-shore wind capacity some ten times the national energy requirements, and then to sell the nine tenths surplus power to Europe via an interconnect.

First, Ireland will have to do a fair bit of convincing in the EU, and further will have to do some major spinning of the story to convince the lenders to make the necessary funds available.

Playing with Figures

The start up budget for the off-shore winds farm project is only a drop in the ocean compared to the current national deficit, at a piddling €3billion. Eventually, however,  the project budget could reach a figure close enough to the National Debt at around €15billion.

A few Minor Obstacles

Apart from securing the money and subsidies, there are a few small details to consider like:

(a) an off shore grid system,
(b) an interconnect with England, and
(c) European and British contracts to buy the intermittent and erratic wind power we might thereby generate.

Minister Ryan seemed very positive about it all and is quoted as saying “This is very real, this is very much happening today. This is very much at the centre of Government thinking”.

"This is very much" good luck with the plans Minister.


1 comment:

lr said...

Funny thing, the latest ESRI report, my understanding is €0 is the cost to date of REFIT payments for offshore wind, not alone this but even if a mad developer wished to register an offshore wind farm for REFIT payments there is no current approved REFIT payment mechanism for offshore wind - hate to interject with this small point