Thursday, 16 June 2011

Securing Our Energy

On Monday I was invited by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) ( to a Seminar on Energy Security & Competitiveness in a Rapidly Changing World in the National Gallery of Ireland. It was chaired by Professor Owen Lewis CEO of SEAI and opened by Minister Pat Rabbitt Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources.

Much of what was said was thought provoking. It came across most powerfully that we are seriously at risk in terms of our security of energy supply. Our basket of sources in Ireland need to be as diversified and integrated as possible. We are still highly at risk from increasing world oil prices in a volatile political world.

Our energy security metrics illustrated by Katrina Polaski of SEAI are stark in terms of our dependence on imports. We need more sources and more means of storing our energy. The competitiveness of our energy supply is also a critical issue as is our clear need to respond to the challenges of climate change.

In terms of gas supply which fuels most of our power plants currently, Corrib was the only new well discovered in 35 years and it is taking 17 years to develop! In that 35 years we had 150 exploration wells and only one discovery at Corrib in 1996. We now have 15 licence applications for the next round of exploration.

Meanwhile we have to accelerate the development of our renewable resources onshore and offshore having regard to the economics involved and the need to move to a lower carbon future.

We need to manage our risks going forward with regard to maximising our Energy Resources to help drive national recovery. In his concluding remarks SEAI Chairman Brendan Halligan remarked on growing world energy demand particularly in the emerging countries. China'a economy doubles in size every 7 years. In terms of the overall theme of the seminar he called for a new Government White Paper on Energy and Enterprise. That's a call I would support.

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