Dublin, 22 April
The Minister for Energy, Alex White T.D., met Mr
Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy today
(Wednesday) to discuss energy policy and related climate change matters.
Minister White reiterated
Ireland’s support for the completion of the European internal energy market and
the development of regional markets. He underlined how geographically peripheral
member states like Ireland, which have isolated or poorly interconnected energy
systems, need appropriate interconnection infrastructure in order to benefit
from the internal energy market.
Minister White said: “I have stressed to our
European partners on a number of occasions that the internal market won’t work
effectively unless peripheral regions achieve additional interconnection.
Ireland’s approach to collective funding decisions will continue to reflect this
Speaking at an IBEC energy conference earlier
today, Minister White said costs for large energy consumers in Ireland had
fallen significantly. “The latest data shows that our energy prices have been
converging towards EU norms. In 2008, energy prices for large energy users were
more than 40% above the Eurozone average. That had fallen to 3-6% in the first
half of 2014. This Eurostat data also shows that Irish electricity prices for
large energy users are below those in the UK. These are significant achievements
which have improved our competitiveness very considerably,” he said.
The discussion with
Commissioner Cañete took place in the context of last year’s UN
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which said fossil fuels must
be replaced with renewable electricity generation within 35 years. Both the
Minister and the Commissioner agreed that Ireland and every other country must
play its part in achieving that and Ireland is working with its European
partners to ensure Europe plays a leading role in the UN conference to be held
at Paris at the end of the year.
The Minister welcomed the opportunity to
reiterate that “Ireland stands ready to work with the Commission on settlement
of national targets that represent a technically feasible, cost-effective and
fair sharing of the non-ETS 2030 burden. Crucially, an appropriate balance must
be struck between competitiveness , security and sustainability and the
forthcoming definitive energy policy White Paper will provide the framework
within which that balance can be achieved.”
The Minister said his meeting with Commissioner
Arias Cañete was a constructive and positive engagement and he looked forward to
further bilateral meetings to explore how Ireland’s concerns could be
accommodated in the new climate change abatement strategies in the energy sector
and the completion of the internal energy market.