Last update: December 13, 2017

Irish Independent November 16, 2017 Ireland

Wind power not the answer to lowering CO2 emissions, claims lobby group

You always have to have all of your fossil fuel plants either running or on stand-by — so they're now producing more emissions than if they were running all the time.

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By Allison Bray

Increasing wind energy is not the answer to decreasing the country’s carbon emissions, according to campaign group Wind Aware.

The national group, comprised of about 50 local community groups opposed to wind farms, released a report yesterday claiming that the deployment of wind energy is only reducing carbon dioxide emissions by less than 5pc.

The ‘Costs of Wind Energy in Ireland’ report claims this is despite a 2007 white paper on energy in which the Government pledged that a third of electricity would be generated by renewable resources by 2020.

“Most of this was to be achieved by deploying large amounts of on-shore wind energy. The aim of the plan was to reduce Ireland’s CO2 emissions”, the report stated.

According to the report, only between 2.6pc and 4pc of carbon emissions are reduced by wind energy because “wind is an intermittent source of power that cannot be stored on a grid-scale, it has knock-on effects on how the grid operates”.

“Conventional generators must be ramped up and down to balance wind”, the report said.

Wind Aware spokeswoman Laura Byrne said: “Increasing wind energy does not necessarily reduce emissions.

There’s a perception out there that renewables, and wind in particular, equals emissions reduction, but they don’t.

Because wind doesn’t always blow and you can’t store the electricity, you always have to have all of your fossil fuel plants either running or on stand-by — so they’re now producing more emissions than if they were running all the time”, she said.

The report calls on the Government to look instead at other options, such as retro-fitting insulation in homes and converting coal-fired power stations to biomass in order to cut carbon emissions.

“Our energy policy must be urgently reviewed and all current actions paused until full analysis has taken place of the most cost-effective and sustainable way to de-carbonise”, the report concluded.

Download the report:

The Costs of Wind Energy in Ireland