Exceptional circumstances demand extraordinary actions in energy crisis, says Lowry

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MP Michael Lowry and members of the TD Regional Group have called on the government to declare the current energy crisis a national emergency.

The Panel further called on the government to enact legislation to address the current supply shortfall with a Public Interest Act to include emergency measures.

In a private member’s bill, which was proposed on behalf of the group by MP Lowry, they proposed a number of viable and credible solutions to deal with the current crisis in order to protect and help the population. from this country.

“Our aim is to prohibit any threats to cut off power to domestic customers and critical social infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes,” MP Lowry said.

“We further suggest setting a national cap on the unit price of electricity, with the state raising a long-term loan to pay the verifiable excess costs of electricity generators that would be reimbursed through electricity bills. over a period of 15 years,” he adds. .

Deputy Michael Lowry

Members of the regional group put forward proposals to recoup excessive profits from energy companies, to exempt the planning of solar photovoltaic panels embedded on the roofs of domestic, agricultural and commercial buildings.

“We are proposing the establishment of an energy support program for businesses. Some businesses are experiencing a 200-300% increase in utility costs, forcing them to choose between layoffs or closures.

“Similarly, there is a need to immediately decouple the link between gas prices and electricity prices, which inflate electricity prices whether generated by natural gas or not.

“These are just some of the decisive steps we need to take now to reduce our medium-term reliance on fossil fuels,” MP Lowry said.

“However, the options don’t stop there,” he said, going on to respond to the requirement to fully implement the motion on offshore renewables, which was unanimously approved by the Dáil Éireann on 8 December 2021, setting out a clear political strategy for the internal market. the production and consumption of green hydrogen and the timely establishment of a renewable heat obligation scheme similar to the obligation scheme for biofuels.

“We are also calling for the implementation through Bord na Móna of a bioenergy strategy, including the use of fixed price contracts, to increase the supply of biomass for the energy of our agricultural and forestry sector. is crucial.

Deputy Lowry said people in every corner of this country are living under a cloud of stress and anxiety. They are gripped by fear of what this winter has in store for them. Homes, businesses, schools, farmers, nursing homes and healthcare providers depend on government assistance.

“No one underestimates the challenges facing the government. While direct financial assistance to pay the bills is essential at this time, in truth it is only a palliative. We need to take a broader and more comprehensive approach. long term to solve the problem by exploring and revisiting our options for self-sufficiency.

“A recent and much-discussed report cites Ireland as the country least prepared for the current energy crisis across Europe. This makes the work we need to do more difficult and more urgent.

“A major setback is that Ireland no longer has gas storage facilities. Countries like Germany have the capacity to store up to 100 days supply during the summer months when demand is Austria keeps a full year’s supply of gas in storage Ireland has no capacity to store gas in anticipation of high winter demand, let alone in the event of an energy crisis.

“The Kinsale gas field is not only empty, it has also been decommissioned. This leaves the sole survivor, the Corrib gas field, without a crucial backup. This diminishes our ability to hoard gas supplies during the off-peak months. .

“One solution we have is the burning of petroleum distillate rather than gas. However, this would involve the reopening of peat-fired power stations in the Midlands plans, as well as an extension of the duration of the Moneypoint coal-fired power station. , which is scheduled to close in 2025.

“The reopening of the Lanesboro and Shannonbridge power stations are also options to help power generation, as is the recommissioning of the Derrybrien wind farm.

“There has been a lot of negativity about the high demand for electricity from data centers.

“There is a proactive way to mitigate this issue through the implementation of maximum peak rates.

“The proven peak time during the winter months for domestic electricity consumption is between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. If data centers and large industrial consumers were incentivized to disconnect from the national grid during these periods from 1 November to February 28 and switch to fossil fuel backup generators, this would remove huge pressure on demand and ensure that domestic needs can be met.

“Exceptional circumstances demand extraordinary measures. Maintaining light and warmth in the months to come must be the paramount concern at this time.

“Difficult times also require courage. The government has shown courage and leadership in the fight against Covid. Difficult decisions had to be made for the highest ultimate good.

“Similar strength and determination is required now,” he concluded.

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