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Minister White announces Steering Group to advise on Energy Policy Paper

Dublin, 24 September 2014

· 150 stakeholders attend first Energy Policy Seminar

· Seminar marks next step in consultation process

· Energy White Paper will be published by September 2015

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D., today opened the next phase of the public consultation process as part of the development of a White Paper on Energy Policy.

At the event, Minister White announced that he will chair a Steering Group that will advise on the finalisation of the Energy Policy Paper. He confirmed that John Fitzgerald (ESRI), Brian Motherway (SEAI, and Helen Donoghue (IIEA) are pleased to participate on the Steering Group, together with three officials from the Department.

The launch event was held today in Dublin and was attended by over 150 stakeholders. In welcoming the attendees, the Minister noted the timeliness of the event, one day after the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit in New York, attended by over 120 Heads of State and Government. The Minister also reviewed progress to date and set out the next steps towards the development of a definitive Energy Policy Paper for publication by September 2015. The event follows the launch of the public consultation process with the publication of the Energy Policy Green Paper in May by the Minister's predecessor, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, TD, which has stirred an enthusiastic debate on energy policy in Ireland across a diverse range of stakeholders. The consultation resulted in over 1,200 responses being received by the July closing date. The significant response demonstrates the strong interest in choosing the optimal route for future energy policy.

Minister White said, "My Department has conducted an initial analysis of the valuable contributions made by interested parties. The key issues raised in relation to each of the areas set out in the Green Paper have been identified. This launch event today kicks off further engagement with stakeholders, as I had previously indicated in July. My officials will host several events with stakeholders on all of the priorities set out in the Green Paper, to ensure that all of the issues identified in the submissions are fully understood. We want to be sure that the assumptions on which the White Paper will be written are tested and accurate. As I said in July following the great interest shown in the development of a fit-for-purpose Energy Policy, there is an absolute necessity for the White Paper to set a balanced, robust and enabling framework for Ireland's Energy transition. 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."

The Minister went on to say, "Energy Policy is first and foremost about people – we need to ensure a safe, sustainable, economic and cost-effective energy sector, no matter who the consumer is, be they householders, small start-up businesses, multi-nationals – or one of our younger citizens needing access to a warm comfortable room for play, study or rest. We must develop an energy policy that underpins the social recovery that is underway and that facilitates further economic development for the betterment of society as a whole. We must not lose sight of this main goal, because an energy policy developed with this main aim in mind will be sustainable in the long term."

The consultation process now continues with further engagement at various stakeholder events between now and the end of the year. Drafting of the White Paper will follow in the first half of 2015 with a view to publication of a finalised White Paper by September. 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.



Note to Editors:

John FitzGerald, Research Professor, Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland (ESRI)

John FitzGerald is Research Professor in the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland (ESRI). He is President of the Association d'Instituts Européens de Conjuncture Économique and former president of the Irish Economic Association. Currently a member of the Commission of the Central Bank of Ireland. Past member of the National Economic and Social Council, of the board of the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation. Former member of the Irish Energy Research Council, of the Independent Water review Panel, Northern Ireland and of the High Level Group on Green Enterprise. Chaired the Renewable Energy Strategy Group for the former Department of Public Enterprise. Former member of the EU "Group for Economic Analysis" from 2002-2004 advising the President of the EU Commission on matters of Economic Policy. Admitted in 2011 as a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He has published in a number of different fields and helped develop the ESRI's macro-economic modelling programme.

Brian Motherway, Chief Executive, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Dr. Brian Motherway was appointed Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in May 2012. SEAI is Ireland's national energy authority with a mission to play a leading role in transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. Brian was previously Chief Operations Officer and Head of Strategy at SEAI. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering and a PhD in Sociology.

Helen Donoghue, Institute of European & International Affairs (IIEA)

Helen took early retirement from the European Commission in 2012 and is now based in Ireland. During her Commission career, she worked mainly on strategic analysis and policy development in areas undergoing substantial technological change. In DG Energy, she dealt with the various strategic reviews over the past decade and most recently, with the Energy Roadmap 2050. Earlier work in the Commission was on environment policy and science and technology policy, including five years as Science Counsellor in Washington DC. She has degrees in Physics, Maths and Statistics, from UCD and TCD. As a Fellow of the IIEA, she is focusing mainly on energy policy.



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