Dublin, 1 August 2014
Minister for Energy, Alex White T.D., today welcomed the large number of submissions received on the Energy Policy Green Paper. The Paper has stirred an enthusiastic debate on Energy policy in Ireland across a diverse range of stakeholders.
Minister White said "We stand at an 'Energy crossroads'. The Green Paper called for guidance on the route forward. Over 1200 submissions were received by yesterday's closing date, demonstrating the strong interest in choosing the best route, and I am very grateful to all of the stakeholders interested in energy for taking the time to respond to the Green Paper. My Department will be considering each of the valuable contributions. Specifically, my officials will, over the coming months, be focussing on identifying and analysing the key issues raised across all the submissions".
Following on from the written submissions, further engagement with stakeholders will commence in the Autumn to ensure that all of the issues identified in the submissions are fully understood. It will be critically important to ensure that the assumptions on which the White Paper will be written are tested and accurate.
Commenting on the forthcoming engagement phase, Minister White said "There is an absolute necessity for the White Paper to be fit for present and future purposes and to set a balanced, robust and enabling framework. 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."
"Developing the policy will not be easy as we aim to strike the right balance between the interests of all energy stakeholders, especially families and businesses as our social and economic recoveries take root. We will continue to encounter uncertainty at home, within the EU and further afield which will directly impact on our ability to achieve our Energy policy goals. But we can be clear on the goals we wish to set and the course we wish to take. The White Paper will provide the certainty and clarity required for a new Energy for Ireland."
The written public consultation which concluded yesterday will be followed by detailed analysis by officials in advance of further public engagement at various events commencing in the October. Drafting of the White Paper will begin and be progressed in Quarter 1 of 2015 with a view to publication of finalised White Paper by mid-year. 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.
The Green Paper was published by the Minister's predecessor, Mr. Pat Rabbitte T.D., in May, and the consultation period closed yesterday, 31 July, after a period of 12 weeks.