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Chambers Ireland have expressed deep worry over the latest offshore energy plan draft

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Chambers Ireland, the largest business network in the country, has expressed “grave concern” about the Government’s draft offshore energy plan. Shane Conneely, the group’s director of policy and communication, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that although they are supportive of decarbonisation targets, members are worried about long-term security of supply.

“Our members want to tackle climate change,” he said, “and they can see the economic opportunity for the coastal regions, Dublin, and industry alike.” However, he noted, “the plan is both conservative and retrograde in some ways.” Businesses that had been researching where to place wind farms have been wasting their time and the plan is not technologically neutral – Scotland is planning for 68 metre wind turbines, whereas the Irish plan limits them to 60 metres.

The culture of risk adversity in Ireland, according to Conneely, does not show enough ambition. “We need to treat an emergency like an emergency,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity. We need more resourcing and technically competent people to make planning decisions, and we should not be fearing judicial reviews.” He added that businesses that approach Ireland for this type of project face a “huge regulatory risk” and the country is likely to miss out on the next decade of offshore renewable energy development due to a lack of port infrastructure.

Chambers Ireland wants to see greater ambition put into action. Conneely noted that the u-turns in the plan are “really undermining trust” and that if people are to invest billions, the consensus must not be undermined. He concluded that the plan needs to return to the earlier version, as “we shouldn’t be 10 years in to a process and going backwards when we need to move forward.”

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Owen
Owen
Owen is an excited writer with over 10 years of experience in the newspaper industry. Born and raised in Ireland, Owen developed a passion for writing and journalism at a young age. He pursued this passion by studying journalism in college and quickly landed a job as a reporter at a local newspaper. Over the years, Owen worked his way up the ranks in the newspaper industry, eventually becoming one of the top editors in the company.

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