That Dáil Éireann approves the terms of the Agreement between Ireland and the Danish State on the establishment of a framework for the statistical transfer of energy from renewable sources for target compliance purposes under Directive 2009/28/EC, signed and done at Dublin on 1st December, 2020, a copy of which was laid before Dáil Éireann on 4th December, 2020.
I thank the Acting Chairman for the opportunity to speak on this important matter. Under the 2009 renewable energy directive, we are committed to achieving 16% of our energy demand from renewable resources by the end of 2020. Notwithstanding the good progress that has been achieved, especially in renewable electricity, projections by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, indicate that a shortfall of between 3% and 4% is likely by year end. In order to ensure compliance with the directive, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has negotiated international agreements with Estonia and Denmark to purchase statistical transfers for 2020. Following Government approval in late November, my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Ryan, signed both agreements in Dublin earlier this month. They will enter into force, subject to ratification by the Dáil Éireann. This mechanism is part of the European architecture under the 2009 renewable energy directive designed to allow member states to meet their targets. While it was not our preference to achieve compliance via this mechanism, we have, unfortunately, exhausted all alternative options for compliance through other policies and measures.
Ireland is not alone among member states which will fall short of its binding renewable energy targets. Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands have all concluded similar arrangements in recent years. As to costs, the State will pay €37.5 million to Estonia for the purchase of 2.5 TW hours of energy and €12.5 million to Denmark for a volume of 1 TW hour of energy. In total, the State will procure 3.5 TW hours of renewable energy at a cost of €50 million this year. While the Government acknowledges that this is a significant cost to the State, it is nevertheless important to point out that the funds received by both Estonia and Denmark will be used to accelerate deployment of renewable electricity in their jurisdictions, in line with their national energy and climate plans. Both of the agreements are with EU member states with which Ireland shares a common commitment to taking robust climate action in accelerating the roll-out of renewable energy to supply our grid, heat our homes and move our people as part of an integrated transport network. Like Ireland, Denmark and Estonia are small countries with a strong European identity and these agreements will strengthen future co-operation between Ireland and its fellow EU member states to tackle the climate emergency and put citizens at the heart of the climate transition.
Since coming into office in June, this Government has overseen the first auction under the transformational renewable electricity support scheme. This will see a major upscaling in renewable energy projects connecting to the grid from 2021, with, for the first time, solar energy and community-owned projects supplying homes across Ireland. The programme for Government provides that a reliable supply of safe, secure and clean energy is essential to deliver a phase-out of fossil fuels. The Government is committed to rapid decarbonisation of the energy sector and will take the necessary action to deliver at least 70% renewable electricity by 2030. The climate action plan included a commitment to 3.5 GW of offshore wind by 2030, up to 8.2 GW of onshore wind and up to 1.5 GW of solar energy. The programme for Government commits to a further increase in offshore wind development to 5 GW by 2030.
On sustainable transport, the climate plan has a target of 936,000 electric vehicles to be on the road in Ireland by 2030 and also includes a range of actions to support the uptake of electric vehicles.
I welcome the launch by the European Commission last week of the sustainable and smart mobility strategy, which lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation. To give a flavour of some of the ambitious actions contained in the strategy, by 2030 at least 30 million zero-emission cars will be in operation on European roads, 100 European cities will be climate-neutral, high-speed rail traffic will double across Europe, automated mobility will be deployed at a large scale, and zero-emission marine vessels will be market-ready.
It is important for Ireland to demonstrate its commitment to meeting renewable energy targets and sustainable transport commitments in support of the wider aspirations of the European Green Deal. The forthcoming climate action plan next year will further step up our ambitions with the necessary actions to ensure the cross-government effort that is required is being implemented and monitored effectively. I look forward to hearing the contributions from Members on this important issue and I thank the House.