I don’t like to write anything negative, and I don’t mean to here. I am very happy to see so much attention being placed on the Environment and so many of its aspects, not just investing, not just recycling, EVs or anything in particular.
However, does anyone else feel generally underwhelmed by the Irish Government’s announcements?
The move towards small scale renewable energy generation that is saleable into the grid is welcome, but why so late? Many European countries have been doing this for well over 10 years.
A study into the feasibility of off shore energy generation (the ‘renewable energy plan’? Why now, how long will it take and although it is necessary, there is much anecdotal evidence to show this is not a will it work scenario, more of a how well can it work?
The drive towards one million EVs and retrofitting homes again is welcomed, but with the burden being placed entirely on individuals and private businesses, is there really a likelihood that these ambitious targets will be achieved without incentives?
We have had generations to commit to an effective underground system for Dublin (the most populous area), which would have been a wonderful investment in sustainable transport for future generations. Instead we are still talking about walking more (the weather) and cycling more, on roads that are questionably safe to share with cars. Since Covid it has been shown also fewer people are using public transport and are choosing to use their cars.
At a critical time where individuals are under so much pressure from taxes, energy bills and other demands, is it really feasible to expect those same people to step up and solve this problem on their own?
If we are serious about EVs, incentivise their purchase rather than reducing or removing those incentives. Invest in the charging network nationally and effectively with public funds and put charging points everywhere, not just where private investment will go because it must be profitable.
Make meaningful incentives available to retrofit homes and let those homeowners actually benefit from their investment. An old joke from a few years back unfortunately still seems to hold true – the only people to benefit from you putting solar panels on your house are the people who buy the house from you. That simply shouldn’t be yet an article in the Irish Times from Nov 5th last estimates the average cost of retrofitting homes will be €56,000 each. This is expected to be mainly funded by the individual and is expected to take at least 15 years to pay for itself in terms of savings.
Without a meaningful coordinated national plan, we will not meet our targets. However, this is not to say we as individuals should give up. Together we can make a difference by doing a little more each day than the day before. We have so much to do, to learn and to achieve.
Perhaps our government are missing the point that we can become a genuine world leader with renewable technologies – we have plenty of Wind, Water and adequate sun to make huge advances. Imagine the global recognition we could gain as a country with a little forward thought?
As individuals can make a difference, have a very interesting time along the way and probably make money doing it. Hopefully our government will step up along the way in a meaningful way and join the party.