Friday, June 24, 2011

An interesting solution

The UK has set itself some extremely ambitious climate change targets, with the aim of decarbonising their economy by 2050. To achieve this, they need to switch their entire electricity-generating infrastructure to low-carbon sources. The Fukushima meltdown has effectively taken one of their favoured components, nuclear, out of the equation, which leaves them with wind - but they're not sure they have enough to meet their interim targets, and turbines attract strong local opposition from people who think their particular hill is "special". So, they've hit upon a novel solution: build it in Ireland:

THE BRITISH government could massively subsidise the Irish wind energy industry under proposals to be considered in London today.

Britain believes the west coast and the seas around Ireland can provide it with a large amount of its renewable energy and could be willing to subsidise offshore wind farms there.

Industry groups here say such a move could be worth up to €1.6 billion a year to the Irish economy.

This is an obvious win-win solution. Ireland, which likes turbines, gets a major export industry, green jobs, and help meeting its own climate change targets. The UK gets clean electricity. Both countries will have to interconnect their grids more strongly, which will in turn give them some security against poor weather and local disruptions. The only losers will be the coal industry.

[Hat-tip: European Tribune]