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SSE calls on Irish government to target green recovery

SSE's Beatrice wind farm. Image: SSE.

SSE's Beatrice wind farm. Image: SSE.

SSE has called on the Irish government to pursue a green recovery, to create thousands of jobs and deliver net zero.

In an letter to Irish minister for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D., the utility has outlined five key policy priorities to deliver a green recovery from COVID-19.

The ‘greenprint’, as the company has labelled it, includes facilitating the deployment of 1GW of offshore wind. This could include SSE’s proposed phase 2 of Arklow Bank Wind Park in the Irish Sea, which it said would help the country meet its 5GW target by 2030.

Onshore wind much continue to be supported through balanced planning standards, and flexible thermal generation could continue to be decarbonised through stronger carbon pricing and system stability services.

Additionally, customers must be provided with attractive decarbonisation options, in particular for energy efficiency options and microgeneration. Electrified heat and transport must also be progressed to harness further decarbonisation as the electricity supply greens.

Stephen Wheeler, Ireland country lead for SSE, said it was “encouraging” to see climate action and renewables feature prominently in the Programme for Government.

“However, we now need swift action in a number of key priority areas to ensure we are maximising the economic opportunities as we rebound from the coronavirus crisis.

“SSE stands ready to invest billions of euro to deliver the low-carbon infrastructure we need, boosting our economy and creating a cleaner, greener society for generations to come. With the imperative of tackling climate change, we can support thousands of jobs in all regions of the country, building stronger, sustainable domestic supply chains that increase our self-sufficiency and security.

“It’s clear that decarbonising our electricity system is the key to greening other sectors and we believe a net-zero power system by 2040 has to be the starting point for achieving a net-zero society by 2050.”

The call comes after a report produced by PwC for Business in the Community Ireland stated that Ireland’s recovery from COVID-19 must take into account climate change. It outlined reductions in emissions made by over 50 companies in the country that have committed to the group's Low Carbon Pledge.

Similar calls have been echoed throughout the UK’s energy sector, with the recovery from COVID-19 and the lockdown creating a historic opportunity to progress towards net zero.

Ireland’s energy sector has faced similar challenges throughout the lockdown period as well, with demand falling leading to balancing challenges and negative day ahead price periods.

On 5 April the Irish Single Electricity Market (SEM) saw negative prices for almost the whole day according to Cornwall Insight, with 20 periods of negative pricing starting at -€6.0/MWh, before falling as low as -€14.5/MWh at 2:00 pm.

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