The recently published draft National Energy and Climate Plan set out a number of measures that will assist in the transition to a low carbon economy. Many of these measures, while reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions will also promote job creation and economic growth, including such items as Town scale pilots of food and agriculture waste being converted to gas for local gas networks and biogas production and a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) to support up to 4,500 Megawatts of additional renewable electricity by 2030. This will be augmented by the smart meter programme which will facilitate the development of distributed and micro generation, the use of energy storage technologies and increased energy efficiency measures. This will allow the energy consumer to become much more interactive in how they manage their overall energy usage.
With regard to climate action, Ireland faces a significant task, across the whole of the economy, in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. This also presents opportunities, as investment in the low carbon economy has the potential to create sustainable high quality jobs to support local communities and workers, including ensuring working with relevant stakeholders to ensure a just transition approach in regions most impacted by the on-going transition to a decarbonised society.
The Government agreed on 20 November 2018 to the preparation of new All-of-Government Plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Developing a deep understanding of the socio-economic and distributional impacts of climate policies and measures to ensure a fair and acceptable climate transition for citizens will be a key consideration of the new plan.
Ireland’s first National Policy Statement (NPS) on the Bioeconomy was published by Government in March 2018. This sets out the Government’s policy framework for developing the bioeconomy and outlined a vision, principles and strategic policy objectives to underpin the successful development of the bioeconomy in Ireland.
An important objective of the bioeconomy is to move Ireland beyond simply a target compliance and carbon mitigation focus to integrating sustainable economic development into our economic model as we transition to a low carbon and circular economy.
The forthcoming Circular Economy Action Plan will unlock growth and jobs potential by ensuring the right regulatory framework and giving clear signals to economic operators on the way forward with long-term waste targets. Future opportunities in the green economy could be expected in a number of categories such as, waste management, collection and remanufacture in textiles and clothing, Eco Design and Social entrepreneurship – creating local, community jobs and training opportunities.