[Ref No.: 38956/15]

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when his Department will complete the review of the proposals from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, on wind energy guidelines and its implications for our 2020 renewable energy targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Anthony Lawlor.
For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 10th November, 2015.


Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White)
The overarching objective of the Government’s energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers.
The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. In order to meet this target, Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources, 12% renewables in the heating sector and 10% in transport. Provisional figures provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for 2014 show that 22.7% of electricity was met from renewable sources.
Ireland is making good progress with regard to renewable energy deployment. It is estimated that a total of between 3,500 MW and 4,000 MW of onshore renewables generation capacity will be required to allow Ireland to meet its electricity target. As the most cost effective of the technologies available to Ireland, wind energy will make the largest contribution to bridging the gap to meeting the electricity target.
In December 2013, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government began a review of the existing Wind Energy Development Guidelines. The review focused on the specific issues of noise, proximity, and shadow flicker. Submissions were received from around 7,500 organisations and members of the public during the public consultation period.
This is a very technical area and the engagement between the two departments is ongoing. Technical studies have been obtained on various aspects of the issues, particularly noise – including separation distance – and detailed assessments of various options have been undertaken by the two Departments.
Any revisions to the guidelines following the conclusion of deliberations, will be introduced by issuing the revised guidelines to planning authorities under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.