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Minister White says European energy targets demand substantial and sustained effort on renewables and energy efficiency

wind turbines

Dublin, 24 October 2014

The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Alex White T.D, today made the following statement:

"I welcome the progress made by the Taoiseach and other EU leaders at yesterday's European Council. The leaders committed the EU as a whole to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%, and increase energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27%.

This outcome will require a substantial and sustained effort to increase Ireland's renewable energy output and improve our energy efficiency. My Department is currently consulting in advance of publishing a White Paper, in mid-2015, on Ireland's long-term energy policy. The practical challenges of both the 2020 and 2030 targets will feature strongly in our thinking.

My Department has overall responsibility for two of the three new targets agreed, which are:

· An EU target of at least 27% is set for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU in 2030;

· An indicative target at the EU level of at least 27% is set for improving energy efficiency in 2030 . This will be reviewed by 2020 with a view to increasing to 30%.

I note that the European Council will return to, and reach consensus on, country specific targets for non-ETS GHGs for 2030. Those targets will take account of GDP per capita, relatively adjusted to reflect cost-effectiveness in a fair and balanced manner. The Conclusions reached last night recognise that issues such as those that have presented challenges to Ireland meeting its 2020 targets, must be addressed before the 2030 targets are agreed.

I must acknowledge that I am disappointed with the 27% target for energy efficiency, which is a reduction on the 30% target preferred by Ireland and other Member States. However, others found this target difficult for their national circumstances, and the lower target was part of the overall consensus reached. The importance of energy efficiency is reflected in the European Council's comments on energy security, which acknowledge the potential for energy efficiency in reducing energy demand.

The certainty provided by these targets will assist in formulating a definitive Energy Policy for Ireland, on which I am currently holding a series of detailed stakeholder seminars. The forthcoming Policy will set out our high level plans for Ireland's energy transition out to 2030."


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