The world is facing unprecedented challenges in terms of supplying the energy that is required for society to function and balancing this against the very real and pressing issue that is global warming and climate change.
The European Commission on Climate Change has stated that global warming has to be limited to below a 2°C increase compared to the average temperature in pre-industrial times to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change and possibly catastrophic changes in the global environment.
Ireland is heavily dependent on energy imports and is one of the few countries with greater than 75% energy dependency. Taking a long term view, it is not desirable for Ireland as a country to be heavily dependent on the importation of fossil fuels especially given that these are sourced from an ever depleting supply. This is compounded by the fact that demand from this dwindling reserve is likely to increase due to world population growth. Changes in how we produce and use electricity will hopefully curb this demand but the alternatives available need to be fully assessed.
This affects us all and each one of us has a responsibility to look at what role we can play in protecting our environment and energy security. We all need to look at not only how we use energy in our homes and daily lives but also where this energy comes from. Where there are opportunities available for our communities to explore the potential development of renewable energy projects we need to assess these on their merits so that suitable and appropriate projects can be identified and developed.
We need to look at all aspects of how we can harness and use energy in the most efficient and appropriate manner possible.
Exploring the answers to this challenge should be approached with the optimism of opportunity rather than pessimism, gloom or despair!