Advancing the transition to a low carbon economy is a policy priority for me and the Government.
My Department has overseen the development of nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024, including for the Mid-West, which covers Counties Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary.
I was very pleased to launch the Mid-West Plan with Ministers of State, English and Troy, in Nenagh on the 18th February and was impressed by the ambition of the Mid-West to be a leading sustainable and low carbon region.
The Deputy will be aware that I recently established the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce following a commitment in the Programme for Government. I’m really happy with the membership of the taskforce. It’s a really good mix of expertise from research, academia and industry.
This Taskforce has got to work quickly. It is identifying specific economic development opportunities for the Shannon Estuary area, with particular focus on the significant potential of both offshore and onshore renewable energy to drive sustainable economic development, as well as opportunities across transport, manufacturing, and tourism.
In addition to its programme of stakeholder engagement, the Taskforce is expected to draw on existing development plans and initiatives, including the Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan, and produce a masterplan for the Shannon Estuary area with an associated action plan detailing its proposed implementation. This work is expected to conclude by the end of November, at which point I look forward to receiving the Taskforce’s final report.
This potential to develop renewable energy through the Shannon Estuary will open up opportunities for a variety of green fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and electrofuels, all of which will play a role in the decarbonisation of the freight sector.
My colleague, Eamonn Ryan TD, Minister for Transport, leads on the decarbonisation of the freight sector. As in passenger transport, enabling the freight sector and businesses to avail of cleaner and more efficient delivery alternatives will be necessary to meet our climate goals and to reduce transport emissions in the Mid-West and in Ireland more generally. Currently, heavy-goods vehicles account for around 20%, and light-goods vehicles for 18% of national transport emissions.