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JULY 2019
Energy Focus
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
these increased costs to
the consumer through
the tenders, so the
Government's charges
will become a hidden tax.
Adding systemic
costs
There have been a few
recent costs added as
result of Government
policy. A new all-island
electricity market,
called I-SEM, was
introduced last year and
is structurally hostile
to variable renewables.
In implementing it, the
Government (through
DCCAE) unnecessarily
handed the risk and the bill
for the balancing costs to
wind-farm projects already
built under a fixed price
support scheme - which
amounts to retrospective
change.
As if that wasn't enough,
the State's Valuation
O ce in its wisdom
decided to revalue wind-
farms in such a way
that commercial rates
were at least doubled,
or trebled and even in
some exceptional cases
quadrupled or more,
without doing the same
for other electricity
generators in the same
market (mostly using fossil
fuels). And this at a time
when we are supposed
to be addressing climate
change. It's another form
of retrospective change
a ecting the viability of the
wind industry. The sector
is happy to contribute to
local Government funding,
but would think it more
sensible to increase our
contribution by increasing
our scale, not by raising
rates for every project.
The IWFA has taken this
matter to the European
Courts and asked that it
be regarded as state aid to
fossil fuel-based energy
producers.
Wind is the new grass
One good news story is
that Eirgrid is now a world
leader in the integration
of renewable generation
into the grid and will help
Ireland accommodate a
lot more wind both on-
and o shore, as well as
solar, batteries and various
new technologies, so
as to lower power costs
while addressing climate
change. Indeed, we
should be aiming to have
removed fossil fuel energy
production completely
by 2050, thereby also
insulating ourselves from
inevitable disruptions to
global energy markets and
consequent cost hikes.
However, many have got
the daft idea that wind is
the new gold, when in fact
"wind is the new grass",
as Dr Brendan Halligan
said. We have a natural
advantage in wind and
it o ers us a whole new
industry on the scale of
our agricultural sector, also
with export potential. But
we need to be aware that
we are at risk of killing that
golden goose the way we
are handling it right now.
31
JULY 2019
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Energy Focus
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