The importance of solid fuel was the focus of part of Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice’s, address to the Daíl earlier this week.
During a debate on EirGrid, Electricity and Turf (Amendment) Bill 2022: Second stage on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022, the public representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency drew attention to traditional and renewable energy resources.
He began addressing this matter by discussing how “important a sod of turf will be to ordinary people next winter”.
“I was talking to a fuel merchant yesterday. An ordinary bag of coal cost €22 last year. The price went to €27, then €35 and then €42. It is expected to be €50 next winter,” he told the Dáil.
“An ordinary person cannot afford that. The bit of turf that people cut if they rent a plot for €500-€600 will do them for the winter.”
“People can jump up and down. In ten or twelve years’ time, that generation will have moved on to something else,” he stressed.
“Have a look at the bag of coal costing €22 that will cost €50. Can we blame people for looking for alternatives? The bottom line is they need to do so,” he said.
“There will not be enough money to go around for everyone. Those people will act on their own initiative and make sure they get what they need.”
Furthermore, he told the Dáil chamber that we “must not knock off the light in one room to find when we go into another room that the light will not turn on”.
In other words, he said, do not go telling people they cannot use something and then when they look to renewables, they find they do not work.
He said that “whether we like it or not” the reality is that for the next 30 or 40 years, we will definitely be relying on gas and “a fair amount” of diesel as well.
“We have to face up to these facts. We have been hearing about renewables for the past ten or twelve years. There are some renewables, and we are able to cater for more of them.”
However, he says that if look at upcoming technologies, “we are ten or twenty years away” from perfecting hydrogen and offshore wind, in his view.
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