Irish resource needs Europe link

Ireland should aim for 2000 MW of installed wind capacity by 2010, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) urged at its autumn conference last month. Paddy Teahon from EcoWind Power explained the IWEA's reasoning. It would increase security of supply so that Ireland is not over-dependent on imported gas; and it would help in meeting the country's Kyoto targets. "Wind is hugely significant if we want to avoid fines for missing the targets," he said.

The 2000 MW aim is ambitious, but can be delivered, said Teahon. Already, around 1000 MW of wind projects have gained siting permits and a further 1000 MW is in the planning pipeline.

But delivering 2000 MW of wind would demand an interconnector between Ireland and Britain to integrate the Irish system with the rest of Europe, he said. Teahon also warned that the industry needs the right market framework in which to operate. He argued for priority of access and dispatch for wind under the energy regulator's proposed new market trading arrangements for electricity. And he called for a commissioner with special responsibility for renewables to be appointed within the Commission for Energy Regulation to ensure that the Irish renewables sector catches up with the rest of Europe.