Steering Group to Advise on Energy Policy Paper Announced
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D., today opened the next phase of the public consultation process as part of the development of a White Paper on Energy Policy.
At the event, Minister White announced that he will chair a Steering Group that will advise on the finalisation of the Energy Policy Paper. He confirmed that John Fitzgerald (ESRI), Brian Motherway (SEAI), and Helen Donoghue (IIEA) are pleased to participate on the Steering Group, together with three officials from the Department.
The launch event was held today in Dublin and was attended by over 150 stakeholders. In welcoming the attendees, the Minister noted the timeliness of the event, one day after the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York, attended by over 120 Heads of State and Government. The Minister also reviewed progress to date and set out the next steps towards the development of a definitive Energy Policy Paper for publication by September 2015. The event follows the launch of the public consultation process with the publication of the Energy Policy Green Paper in May by the Minister’s predecessor, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, TD, which has stirred an enthusiastic debate on energy policy in Ireland across a diverse range of stakeholders. The consultation resulted in over 1,200 responses being received by the July closing date. The significant response demonstrates the strong interest in choosing the optimal route for future energy policy.
Minister White said, “My Department has conducted an initial analysis of the valuable contributions made by interested parties. The key issues raised in relation to each of the areas set out in the Green Paper have been identified. This launch event today kicks off further engagement with stakeholders, as I had previously indicated in July. My officials will host several events with stakeholders on all of the priorities set out in the Green Paper, to ensure that all of the issues identified in the submissions are fully understood. We want to be sure that the assumptions on which the White Paper will be written are tested and accurate. As I said in July following the great interest shown in the development of a fit-for-purpose Energy Policy, there is an absolute necessity for the White Paper to set a balanced, robust and enabling framework for Ireland’s Energy transition. I want a dynamic and responsive evidence based framework that will allow all of us to steer the appropriate course as we seek to deal with sustainability, security and competitiveness challenges and opportunities.”
The Minister went on to say, “Energy Policy is first and foremost about people – we need to ensure a safe, sustainable, economic and cost-effective energy sector, no matter who the consumer is, be they householders, small start-up businesses, multi-nationals – or one of our younger citizens needing access to a warm comfortable room for play, study or rest. We must develop an energy policy that underpins the social recovery that is underway and that facilitates further economic development for the betterment of society as a whole. We must not lose sight of this main goal, because an energy policy developed with this main aim in mind will be sustainable in the long term.”
The consultation process now continues with further engagement at various stakeholder events between now and the end of the year. Drafting of the White Paper will follow in the first half of 2015 with a view to publication of a finalised White Paper by September. The new Energy Policy Framework will be timely in that it will be guided by Ireland’s input to the EU’s 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy policies and the preparations for the UN’s COP21 in Paris (the 21st Conference of the Parties within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in November next year.