Ireland's Mid West Publishes Climate Change Strategy

The Mid West Region of Ireland can achieve a 70 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2010 saving itself millions of Euro in carbon levy, according to the Mid West Regional Authority (MWRA), which on Feb. 8 published the country's first Regional Climate Change Strategy at its 14th annual conference in Adare, County Limerick.

The Mid West Region's Energy Balance & Climate Change Strategy outlines how the harnessing of the region's renewable energy resources complemented by increased individual responsibility for energy consumption and emissions can help the Mid West honor its Kyoto commitments.

Among the proposed measures is the increased use of green energy by the commercial and industrial sectors; the full enforcement of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive; investment in the development of tidal energy projects along the Shannon Estuary and Clare coastline; increased individual responsibility for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the transport sector; and the exploitation of the region's considerable wood biomass resource.

"This strategy document represents Ireland's most comprehensive plan ever to tackle climate change and improve energy efficiency at a regional level", said Liam Conneally, director of the MWRA.

He added that the strategy had been developed as a working document ensuring the sustainability of the region's energy needs while playing a substantial role in supporting the government in achieving Ireland's Kyoto commitments.

"The Mid West is evidently living beyond its means, in terms of its impact on the environment, and could face a EUR62m bill in carbon levy by 2010 unless immediate remedial action is taken. This strategy demonstrates how this bill can be slashed by up to 70 percent or EUR44m," commented Conneally

He explained that the Mid West was well placed to exploit its substantial renewable energy resources of wind, wave, wood and energy crops. The director indicated, however, that a key restriction for the development of renewable energy electricity projects continued to be access to the National Grid for sale of electricity.

"Continued pressure needs to be applied to facilitate the connection of future projects to the grid and targets raised to facilitate future development. In the short-term, wind energy will be the dominant supplier of renewable energy electricity in the region. However, significant developments in the bioenergy field are possible with other technologies also contributing," he said.

The MWRA is one of the Republic of Ireland's eight statutory regions and comprises the administrative areas of Clare, North Tipperary Limerick County Councils, along with Limerick City Council.

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