Stunning success of Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities!

ProsperousCommunities08

The event “Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” has been a success. Yesterday, almost 100 people gathered in Manorhamilton to take their energy future into their own hands. The main outcome of this pioneering event was the decision to develop a plan for community-owned renewable energy projects in North Leitrim. The event, organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland and Love Leitrim was also intensively followed on social media and it was livestreamed globally.

Pauline Gallacher, Neilston Trust (Scotland), Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader, and Cormac Walsh, Energy Co-operatives Ireland, were the main speakers. Gallacher’s presentation was one of the most inspiring ones. “Use community-owned energy to stimulate ownership of the carbon emission reduction agenda and harness your own resources to build your own sustainable future”, she told to the Irish audience.

ProsperousCommunities06

“Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” was aimed at raising awareness of the opportunities open to local communities to benefit from renewable energies, look at the potential to generate income and jobs for the community and identify local champions of renewable energy. During the day all the people attending had the chance to learn about successful community-owned experiences from Ireland and Scotland and also to raise every question, doubt and misunderstanding they might have had.

“We are delighted with the success of the event” GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin said at the end of this day of workshops and discussions. “It was great to see so many people , but this is only the first step of a bigger project. Renewables can be the source to re-energise rural communities, bringing jobs and income, and we want to replicate this event in many towns and villages across Ireland, providing sustainable alternatives for fossil fuels”, McLoughlin stated.

More pictures on Flickr!

ProsperousCommunities37

Advertisements

GEAI rejects decision to extent peat burning plants lifetime

Good Energies Alliance Ireland joins the Environmental Pillar in condemning the decision to extend the lifetime of two peat-burning power stations in the Midlands beyond the present agreement of ceasing operation in 2019. The stations are located in west Offaly and at Lough Ree. The decision to extend their operation was revealed a letter to Bord na Móna workers from the company’s chief executive Mike Quinn.

“The present generation of electricity by burning peat goes completely against Ireland’s requirement to reduce carbon emissions and choose renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels. Ireland’s energy generators do not seem to realise that business as usual is not an option any longer”, GEAI spokesperson Aedín McLoughlin said.

“This decision demonstrates clearly the result of not having definite targets in the current Climate Bill. There is no requirement on companies to meet the challenges of reducing our carbon emissions and no alternative plans put forward”, GEAI spokesperson stated.

Good Energies Alliance has advocated since its creation in 2012 for a transition towards a carbon neutral Ireland. “We have the solution at hand, we can power ourselves without endangering the planet. Ireland has a great potential for wind, solar energy and biomass power. We are a small country but we can become a great example for the rest of the world. Continuing to burn peat sends out all the wrong signals,” Aedín McLoughlin concluded.

When is fracking not fracking?

iIPFxxAvBxysWhen an oil/gas company wants to drill, of course!

Look at what Rathlin Energy are planning to do near the Giant’s Causeway:

  1. Construct a drilling pad
  2. Drill down 2,700 metres – drilling day and night for up to 90 days
  3. “Stimulate” the well using hydraulic fracturing.  This could go on for 12 weeks, 12 hours per day and probably overnight as well.
  4. Collect flowback
  5. Flare off emitted gas for up to 14 days.

What is this if not fracking?

Yet Rathlin Energy persist in their claim that “fracking will not be used during drilling of this well”.

Who are they trying to fool?  The public of course!  And that includes you, me and everyone else.

Two statements from the EIS that must be queried

The results of the modelling exercise shows that the operation of the flares will not breach the relevant limits for the protection of human health or vegetation at the nearest sensitive receptors. (p16, EIS Non-technical Summary).

Yet, by their own admission, flare emissions can contain CO2, Carbon Monoxide (toxic), Nitogen oxides (some toxic), Sulphur Dioxide (toxic), particulates and, most worryingly of all “unburned hydrocarbons”.  The latter possibly include some real “baddies” – Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene (BTEX).  So toxic, there are NO safe levels of exposure!  When nobody knows whether gas will be produced at all, not to mind its constituency, how can anyone say that public health is not at risk?  One only has to refer to relevant peer-reviewed reports from the US to know that flares definitely constitute a public health risk.

Now let’s look at how Rathlin Energy intends to get rid of flowback waste from the well:

The paragraph starts off, “Waste will be segregated and controlled.” (p20)  Then it describes what it does with flowback: ” Cuttings skips are provided for water based cuttings. They are removed by a licensed contractor for treatment,recycling or disposal as applicable”.

In other words, liquid wastes will not be controlled (by Rathlin Energy anyway). Water-based “cuttings” from hydraulic fracturing contain heavy metals, radioactive elements, brine and fracking chemicals. What treatment is available in Northern Ireland? NONE. Neither are there licenced contractors in Northern Ireland who could take on the task of recycling fracking waste. Which leaves “disposal”. When no adequate method is stated for safe disposal and with Northern Ireland’s record for waste disposal, could anyone have confidence that such waste could be disposed of safely? We don’t think so!

This EIS raises many questions that need answering.

It is madness to go ahead with a project that includes such uncertainties and risks to human health. 

Climate Action Bill 2015 – All smoke, no fire?

Environmental-Damage-2“Transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by the end of 2050.” In the context of the climate crisis now confronting the earth, this is the ONLY aspiration of the Government in the Climate Action Bill 2015. There are no targets beyond the 2020 carbon reduction targets imposed on us by Europe. The opportunity to lead the way towards a truly significant and morally just pathway to a carbon neutral future has been thrown away.

Where is the echo of the Taoiseach’s commitment in New York at the UN Climate Summit last September, “We will only succeed in tackling climate change if we adopt a sustainable and truly collective approach, one that is ambitious but fair, that is challenging but achievable”?

Where are his “long-term objectives for 2050 of an 80 per cent reduction across electricity, transport and built environment”?

Where is the promise “We will continue our efforts, for example through our Origin Green Programme, to drive carbon efficiency and shape the international approach to sustainable agriculture and food production”?

This Government has failed to show commitment, imagination or leadership in the drafting of this Bill. Instead, they have kicked to touch, ensuring that no hard decisions on climate change or carbon emissions will be taken before the next election. Even after that, all that is proposed is the setting up of an Expert Advisory Council with the task of putting forward a Mitigation Plan and an Adaptation Plan in two years, bringing us post 2017 before the public can even consider their proposals or make submissions.

Has anyone in Government even considered that such Plans must undergo Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and conform to the Aarhus Convention on public participation in decision-making? Is there no appreciation of the fact that business cannot go on as usual? How long in reality will it take to make tough decisions if no vision is put forward, no ambitious and exciting targets are proposed, no concept of climate justice is even mentioned?

The Government has missed a chance of rallying the Irish people around the cry of the earth in trouble. Instead they give us Expert Advisory Councils manned by the usual suspects; they give us Plans; they give us “Transition Statements”. We want action! Only yesterday, a leading climate scientist, Michael Mann said, “Ireland should make a bold statement to the world to show it is possible to thrive economically while making deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Does this Climate Action Bill make a “bold statement”? No, it does not!

Shame on Ireland – “Fossil of the Day” in Lima

Ireland is one of only FOUR countries in the ‘developed’ world who have not contributed to the Green Climate Fund, designed to support developing countries to fight climate change while growing economically. At the UN Climate talks in Lima this week, Ireland, Australia, Belgium and Austria were given the first “Fossil of the Day” award, making them very conspicuous by their absence from the fund.

Only last September at the Climate Change conference in New York, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated that Ireland had contributed generously to climate finance for developing countries “despite our very challenging economic and fiscal circumstances in recent years”. He went on to say that Ireland has a strong and proud track record. “We are working within the EU to ensure a fair and effective burden-sharing of the EU’s overall commitment and we are implementing legislation to underpin our climate change efforts.”

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) Director, Dr Aedín McLoughlin, stated that “The absence of contribution to the global Green Climate Fund is a disgrace for Ireland. It is a well-documented fact that Climate Change affects developing countries much more that richer ones, who can afford to put adaptive measures in place. It is also true that “developed” countries are the source of over 80% of carbon emissions that are the cause of climate change. We therefore have an obligation to assist in tackling climate change throughout the developing world.

Are the Taoiseach’s words just script to make us look good, while the reality is that Ireland is not prepared to support climate action? Do we not care about the profound changes affecting the whole globe? Are the recent discussions on Energy Policy just empty words?

We have a proud history of supporting the human and economic development of poorer countries and we cannot separate aid for economic development from aid for climate change programmes. Our ex-President, Mary Robinson has recently been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Change on the basis of her work on climate justice. “Building on her work on climate justice she will engage Heads of State and Government around the world in order to mobilize political will and action, and raise ambition.” said the announcement from Mr. Ban’s office. Surely the Irish Government should be the first to respond to her call?

GEAI calls on the Government to act as World Leaders in this vital area. “Ireland has a responsibility to be at the forefront of action on climate change – to show by example what can be done in our own country to reduce carbon emissions and to assist by every means the green development of poorer countries faced by extreme weather conditions, droughts, floods, changes in seasons and food shortages”.

Link to the original Press Release.

COPYRIGHT

® All rights reserved to GEAI 2017