I am aware of concerns in relation to some oil and gas exploration and production technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing, including unintentional methane gas leaks and venting or flaring of gas. In this regard, I instructed my officials to enquire from the EU Commission at the PCI selection process High Level Decision Making Body meeting in Brussels on 4 October whether the implications of importing LNG to the European Union, from conventional and unconventional fracked sources, have been examined in terms of a sustainable, secure and competitive European energy policy. The Commission advised that it had launched a study on methane emissions and agreed with the need to link gas imports to the objective of a climate neutral economy.
The Government has a fundamental duty to protect Ireland’s energy security. As we move towards the target set out in the Climate Action Plan of 70% renewable electricity by 2030, natural gas will continue to be an important fuel in the transition away from coal, peat and oil to more sustainable sources of energy.
I have initiated a comprehensive energy security review that will consider the electricity generation mix including the role for gas powered back up generation, battery storage and interconnection (both gas and electricity), and other ways to back up our power supply. The review will also consider, in a scientific way, how and from where fossil fuels are sourced during the transition to a carbon neutral economy once completed, I will publish the review and would welcome the consideration of the Dail and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.