Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1477)

Bernard Durkan


1477. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if afforestation, the use of bog lands as carbon repositories and wind generated electricity can each contribute to carbon reduction with a view to improving the progress of Ireland in line with international agreements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34769/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Climate Action Plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also puts Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The plan confirms that afforestation will have a key role to play in delivering emissions reductions and helping Ireland to achieve its 2030 targets. It commits, under Action 116, to implementing the Forest Programme 2014 to 2020 in line with the Mid-Term Review recommendations. Our commitment is to plant 440 million trees by 2040.

Better management of peatlands and soils under Actions 131 to 134 in the Plan will support the protection and enhancement of the carbon sink function of peatland landscapes, including through assessment and implementation of mitigation options on post-production, peat extraction sites, and the implementation of measures for peatlands conservation.

In relation to renewable electricity, the plan sets a target of increasing the share of electricity generated from renewable sources to 70% by 2030, indicatively comprised as follows:

- at least 3.5 GW of offshore renewable energy

- up to 1.5 GW of grid-scale solar energy

- up to 8.2 GW total of increased onshore wind capacity

The exact level of offshore wind, onshore wind, solar and other renewable technology will be determined by a new system of competitive auctions where the lowest cost technology will be determined.

The plan includes a number of actions to deliver this target, including regulatory streamlining of renewables and grid development; development of the offshore renewables sector; implementation of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme; and the development of an enabling framework for micro-generation.