Ireland releases first national GHG mitigation plan

llustration/SeaPower Platform under trials off Ireland (Photo: Sea Power)

The government of Ireland has published its first statutory National Mitigation Plan outlining steps to transition Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.

The plan, published on July 19, 2017, was prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, and represents an initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve the deep decarbonization in line with the government’s policy objectives by mid-century, the Irish government said.

The National Mitigation Plan contains a series of mitigation measures and actions to address the immediate challenge to 2020 and to prepare for the EU targets that Ireland will take on for 2030.

It covers greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity generation, built environment, transport, and agriculture, forest and land use sectors.

For each sector, the plan sets out the sectoral policy context, the greenhouse gas emissions trends, the opportunities and challenges, mitigation measures currently in place and under development, and specific actions to take forward work within each sector.

When it comes to tidal and wave energy, the report predicts that the technologies will not reach commercial scale until the late 2020s. Therefore, it is critical to keep the Ocean Energy Prototype Development Fund, as one of the mitigation measures, in place until at least the second half of 2020 decade, the report states.

Noting the technology maturation timeline, no estimates of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions reductions over the period 2016 to 2030 are provided.

Beyond 2030, tidal and wave energy technologies are said to make an important contribution to enhanced grid stability, according to the plan.

Denis Naughten, Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “This plan is the culmination of months of sustained work across government and represents a first step in our ‘whole-of-government’ approach to addressing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. As a country, we are playing catch-up on our obligations in relation to climate change.

“The plan sets out the full range of measures already being undertaken to reduce our emissions but crucially it also provides the framework for further work that must now be undertaken by government as a whole in the months ahead.”

The plan is the first of its kind under the 2015 legislation, and as such, it does not represent a complete roadmap to achieving the 2050 national transition objective but begins the process of development of medium to long term options to position Ireland to take the necessary actions in the next and future decades, the Irish government noted.

As stated in the Irish government’s Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP), published in 2014, tidal and wave energy devices could provide 1,500MW of energy for the country, while offshore wind could achieve up to 4,5000MW, without significant impact on the environment.

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