Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called for Minister Eamon Ryan to resign.
Fitzmaurice condemned the Minister for Transport and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications’ “insistence” to neglect power generation here in Ireland.
As a result, the representative for the Roscommon-Galway believes this leaves the island economically and socially vulnerable.
He made the statement in response to news that plans are in motion to provide emergency power generation in Dublin ahead of next winter due to several amber alerts regarding energy supply levels in recent months.
“In the mad stampede to move to renewable electricity generation, this country has neglected the upkeep of a reliable back-up for power generation.”
“I have repeatedly stated that we are facing potential blackouts by 2026 due to the path we are taking, but that could become a reality much sooner.
“As part of the Brown to Green Agenda, we turned our backs on the plants in Lanesboro and Shannonbridge. Operations in Moneypoint in Co. Clare are winding down.”
Major power plants at Huntstown, Co. Dublin, and Whitegate, Co. Cork, have been closed for repairs, which could reportedly take months to complete.
“The narrative being pushed at the moment is that the influx in data centers is causing the stress on the system. When in fact, it has been our inability to ensure that we have a reliable back-up power generation supply for when the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun doesn’t shine.”
The blame lies at the door of Minister Eamon Ryan
He said, in reality, Ireland only surpassed the record for peak demand set in the cold spell of 2010 last December when the figure reached 5,357 MW – which beat the previous peak by 245 MW.
Fitzmaurice stated that currently, during the course of a weekday, peak electricity demand generally reaches slightly above 5,000 MW at 6 pm before gradually falling to its lowest level in the early hours of the next morning. Demand increases from 6 am until 8 am, and then remains steady before reaching its peak.
He believes “major” questions need to be asked of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), Ireland’s independent energy and water regulator.
He added that the CRU is tasked with, among other things, ensuring Irish consumers have access to secure and sustainable energy at a reasonable cost.
“It is clear from the fear out there at the moment when it comes to potential blackouts in the nation’s capital later this year that the regulator has failed to do its job – and someone needs to be held accountable for this.”
“But ultimately, the blame lies at the door of Minister Eamon Ryan. It is his party that his driven this green agenda to a point where we will be leaving ourselves both economically and socially vulnerable if power outages become a reality.”
€200 million for emergency generators
Continuing, Fitzmaurice indicated that it is “laughable” now that the Government is trying to ram legislation through the Dail so emergency generators can bypass planning laws.
He added: “It is expected that these emergency generators will cost €200 million, and they will be powered by gas or diesel.”
“It is ironic that the Greens and this Government are trying to circumvent planning laws which would prevent anyone else from doing something like this by ramming through legislation in an effort to save their blushes.”
“The Government were unable or unwilling to bring in legislation when it matter to allow the power plants in Lanesboro and Shannonbridge continue for another few short years.”
“The repairs and upgrades at the plants in Huntstown and Whitegate would have been well flagged up to this. The delay in carrying out these works and the construction of other plants is a gross failure on the part of this Government, Minister Ryan and the regulator.
“Pair this with his decisions not to allow further oil or gas exploration, or the extension of the gas pipeline infrastructure; it leaves Ireland extremely vulnerable.
“They can make efforts to fudge the numbers to suit the narrative that the increase in data centers is causing a huge spike in power – which isn’t evident from Eirgrid’s own figures.”
“But the Irish people must realise that it will be the regulator’s inability to do its job and Minister Ryan’s preference to push a Green agenda that could leave parts of the country sitting in darkness later this year.”
“Having spoken to people in industry, there are big fears that Ireland will lose major employers as a result of the rising uncertainty around electricity supply,” Fitzmaurice concluded.