CALL FOR IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF NATIONAL ENERGY PLANNING
The People’s Charter on Renewable Energy (PCRE) welcomes Senator John Whelan’s recent proposal to review and radically revise our national energy strategies and policies. PCRE believes that all energy policies and strategies in our country need to be rewritten and that any review must include genuine public participation that will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate.
“There is a lack of vision in our national planning”, said Theresa Carter, convenor of PCRE. “What we have in this country are different bits of energy policies that are all put together haphazardly to make up a disjointed national policy. There is no central, shared vision, generated by all our citizens, towards which our government must work.”
PCRE believes that all energy policies in our country need to be rewritten taking into account the four principles adopted by the People’s Charter on Renewable Energy:
(i) Communities must be involved at all stages of development of policy
(ii) Renewable energy needs to be developed to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels
(iii) Fuel poverty needs to be addressed, guided by the principles of equality
(iv) Climate change needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency
PCRE points out that energy is key in our lives, our homes, our food systems, our transport, our economy – everything is dependent on energy. At the moment our lives are dependent on imported, climate-changing fuels sourced mainly in geopolitically unstable regions. It is vital that we get an equitable, collaborative, ecologically sound, sustainable energy strategy in place as soon as possible.
It agrees that it is time for the Government to go back to the drawing board. However, in its opinion, it is necessary that the whole country goes back to the drawing board. Business as usual is not an option – there are major decisions to be taken about energy sources and uses; about Ireland’s response to climate change; about our approach to energy efficiency. The Government cannot make such decisions without the involvement of communities throughout the country, especially those who will be impacted by such decisions.
“We are already seeing the results of energy decisions taken without consultation with communities,” concluded Ms Carter. “Protests against Corrib Gas, fracking in Leitrim and Clare, wind turbines in the midlands and electricity pylons in numerous locations are examples of projects being proposed without agreement from the local communities or connection with any overall vision of where we are going. When will the Government realise that this approach is not feasible? We call for an immediate review of our national energy policy with comprehensive public consultation at every stage of the process.”
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