Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Questions (244)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which he has identified the economic benefits accruing to the economy from a switch to home-based alternative electricity generation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14522/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) work closely with my Department and present a comprehensive overview of energy supply and demand in Ireland to inform Government policy.

As part of their work, the SEAI publishes an annual “Energy in Ireland” Report which presents national energy statistics on energy production and consumption over a set period. The latest available Report is the 2018 Report which covers the period 1990-2017 and was published in December 2018.

The reports shows that in 2017, approximately €439 million in fossil fuel imports were avoided by the use of renewables, of which €226 million was avoided by wind generation.

THE SEAI have also modelled the impact that meeting our renewable electricity targets will have on the Irish economy. Their analysis presents the net new direct jobs (from technology installations), indirect jobs (created in supply chains), induced jobs (from increased consumption), and jobs linked to increased investment in capital stock in the year 2020. Their analysis identified that renewable electricity generation (primarily onshore wind) has a positive impact on the Irish economy and net employment by 2020 with a total of 4,400 net jobs created in 2020. These include over 2,000 direct jobs in construction related to onshore wind with over 500 on-going direct jobs in operations and maintenance. The remaining jobs are in the supply chain and as a result of higher expenditure in the wider economy. The analysis further suggests that GDP could increase by between €305-€585 million as a result of building new wind farms and the expansion of the electricity grid, by 2020.