2030 Vision – The Future of Energy in Ireland

“2030 Vision – The Future of Energy in Ireland” conference was organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) in September 2013 to look at the choices of energy sources that Ireland has to make in the future. The key speaker was Deborah Rogers from Texas, and  others included Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party, who gave an inspirational talk on the potential of renewable energy sources, in particular wind energy, to substitute for hydrocarbons. The conference was part-funded by Leitrim County Council through the Agenda 21 programme.

Speakers and Presentations

The conference name well describes the main issues that were discussed. The general purpose of the conference was to discuss moving from the use of fossil fuels to new sustainable sources of energy and providing it in a environment-friendly way. The speakers gave presentations describing solutions to those challenges. The issue of shale gas extraction was also discussed. Key speaker Deborah Rogers explained how shale gas is not economically viable.  Below is the list of the speakers with their presentations.

Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan_Eamon Ryan is a politician and leader of the Irish Green Party. He was a Teachta Dala (TD) for the Dublin South constituency from 2002 to 2011, and served as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2011. During Ryan’s period in office, installed wind capacity in Ireland doubled, and by 2010 the average daily energy derived from renewable sources (as a percentage of total demand) had increased to 17%, peaking at 42%. He also committed Ireland to the European Super Grid programme in 2009 and announced major government investment in Marine energy research projects.

In his presentation, Eamonn spoke about his belief in an energy revoltuion in Ireland in the near future. He foresaw that in a few years, all electricity would be generated from renewable energy sources and that the use of fossil fuels would plummet.

Link to presentation: Towards 2030 – A different world, a different vision

 Matt Kennedy   

matt kennedy_Matt Kennedy is Low Carbon Technologies Manager at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).  He has more than 15 years of experience in policy, strategy and management related to sustainable energy technologies, climate change mitigation, innovation and enterprise development. He manages Ireland’s Energy RD Programme for Industry and Academia. Matt is a member of the Technology Executive Committee of the UN and is Chair of  International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Technology Deployment Agreement. The SEAI foresees that whereas our peak electricity demand will exceed 48,000 GWatts per year by 2050, wind generation has the potential to exceed peak demand around 2030, indicating that Ireland has the potential to become a significant energy exporter by 2050.

Link to presentation:  Energy Roadmaps to 2030 and beyond

Michael Walsh

Mitchel WalshMichael Walsh is the Project Manager of the Marex project. The MAREX project is a cross border multiple purpose project designed to deliver 6Terawatt-hours of dispatchable renewable energy form ONSHORE WIND in Ireland via a single 1500MW VSC infeed to the UK, probably at Capenhurst. MAREX also contains 6Gwrs per cycle energy storage, which allows for dispatchibility of power.  The Marex project combines wind energy with hydro-energy – wind turbines generate electicity that, as well as contributing to the national grid, also powers a turbine that pumps sea-water to a reservoir on top of a cliff in County Mayo.  This ensures a steady supply of power.

Link to presentation:  MAREX project

David Taylor

David Taylor_David Taylor is Chairman of the Energy Institute, Ireland.  He is the former Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and is the Principal in David Taylor & Associates. He has advised the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security and was responsible for supporting the Committee’s Public Consultation on Ireland’s Electricity Needs post-2020.

David spoke about the importance of dialogue between all sectors involved in energy project – industry, statutory agencies, government and community.  He stressed the importance of keeping a balance in all discussions and in looking for outcomes that give the best result for all sides.

Deborah Rogers

Deborah Rogers_Deborah Rogers lives in Texas, US.  She has worked as a financial consultant for several major Wall Street firms, including Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney.  Ms Rogers was appointed as a primary member to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI), an advisory committee within the U.S. Department of Interior, in 2013 for a three year term.  In May 2013, she was invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  She was appointed in 2011 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to a task force reviewing placement of air monitors in the Barnett Shale region in light of air quality concerns brought about by the natural gas operations in North Texas.  In June of 2012, she was invited to speak in Rio de Janeiro at the International Society for Ecological Economics in conjunction with the United Nations Rio+20 world summit.  She is a Member of the board of Earthworks.  She is also the founder of Energy Policy Forum, a consultancy and educational forum dedicated to policy and financial issues regarding shale gas and renewable energy.

In her presentation, Deborah makes the case that the shale gas industry is essential non-viable, depending more on asset sell-on and a continuing threadmill of drilling than on sustainable production.

Fracking does not make sense economically

GEAI members with Deborah Rogers
Link to video of Ms Rogers’ presentation: http://bit.ly/GJjt2Q

Deborah Rogers is an expert in the economics of shale gas and an advisor to the Obama administration. Speaking at the 2030 Vision conference in Carrick-on-Shannon this month, she made it clear that the shale gas industry in the US is now in deep trouble. The basic reason for this is that initially it was assumed that shale gas wells would behave much like conventional wells (tapping into an underground reservoir of gas) with a lifetime of 20 years. All production and cash projections were based on this assumption, which turned out to be hopelessly optimistic. In fact, the average productive shale gas well has a lifetime of 3 – 5 years only.

Based on those initial projections, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and some leasing companies made fortunes. To become players in this industry, drilling companies went into huge debt, encouraged by investment banks that made millions in fees. Initially easily accessible gas was produced. However, the wells started drying up far sooner than anticipated and the companies continued to drill more and more wells to meet their production targets, motivated by the cost of loans taken out. They cannot stop, resulting in a glut of gas and the price has plummeted. The selling price of gas at present is roughly half the cost of production, so all shale gas companies are losing money.

“The whole thing doesn’t make sense”, said Ms Rogers. “Many of the big players have written down their assets, including BP, Encana and Chesapeake. The Marcellus shale gas reserve estimates are down by 80%. The recovery efficiency for the five major shale gas plays averages 6.5% compared with 75–80% for conventional gas fields. The biggest companies, e.g. Exxon-Mobil, are now selling their assets. Is the shale gas bubble soon going to deflate?”

“In the meantime, the drilling frenzy continues with collateral damage in the form of air pollution, ground water depletion, road damages and potential aquifer ruination”, she continued. “This is immense and will only continue to rise as more and more wells need to be drilled. None of these impacts are at present covered financially by the gas companies – in other words, profits are to be privatized while costs and negative impacts will be borne by the people. “


Conference Programme

2030 Vision logo small

Conference organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland
19th September 2013, Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon

To all Public Representatives, Local Authorities, Environmental NGOs and Policy-Makers
As you know, energy is a very important topic for Ireland just now.  This conference offers a unique opportunity for you to consider the issues and discuss policy.
You will, we expect, find it most informative and valuable, full details below.

2030 Vision – Renewable Energy Sources vs Fossil Fuels?

This conference will examine some of the key issues around the choices Ireland has to make at this time.
Key topics of discussion will include:
•         2030 – A different World, a different Vision
•         Sustainable Energies and Market Needs-Bridging the Gap
•         Wind Energy and Policy
•         The Economics of Unconventional Gas Development
Speakers include:

Deborah Rogers
Lecturer on shale gas economics throughout the U.S.  Member U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI), an advisory committee within the U.S. Department of Interior.  Founder of Energy Policy Forum, Fort Worth, Texas.

Eamon Ryan
Leader of Green Party, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources 2007-2011
David Taylor
Chairman Energy Institute in Ireland, former Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Matt Kennedy
Low Carbon Technologies Manager, SEAI
Maurice McCarthy
CEO, Organic Power Ltd. Cork
Aedín McLoughlin
Director, Good Energies Alliance Ireland
For profiles of speakers [click here]
 2030 Vision Conference
is directed at Public Representatives, Local Authority Members and Officials, and Decision-makers nationally to provide an overview of the choices facing Ireland as we move into a future that is very different and with huge implications for sustainable development.
 Conference Programme [click here]

Registration information

Thursday 19th September 2013, Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon
This conference is open to Public Representatives, Local Authority Members and Officials, local and national decision-makers and representatives of organisations interested in our Energy future.
Conference Delegate Fee: €120
Early Bird Fee (Before 1st September): €100

Special NGO delegate fee: €60

Each participant will be provided with a pack containing all information and lunch and refreshments are included.
To reserve a place please fill in the Registration Form (link below) and email togoodenergiesalliance@gmail.com
(payment is via Paypal, EFT, cheque or invoice).
 Registration Form, Payment Methods and Pro-forma Invoice [click here]
The Conference is part-funded by Leitrim County Council* and Department of Environment and Local Government under the Local Agenda 21 programme.

*The Department of Local Government & the Environment and Leitrim County Council wish to clarify that whereas they have agreed to partially fund the event, such funding assistance does not indicate endorsement or otherwise of the topics covered in the Conference.


Statements/Press Releases




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