EirGrid yesterday hosted the first of a three-day ‘Deliberative Dialogue’ with 99 people from around the country aimed at understanding participants views to help shape Ireland’s future energy needs.
The events are based on EirGrid’s recently launched Shaping Our Electricity Future initiative, which details innovative approaches to developing the electricity grid in order to meet ambitious 2030 renewable energy targets.
Modelled on Ireland’s Citizens Assembly EirGrid’s ‘Deliberative Dialogue’ is moderated by Tom Arnold, former Director General of the IIEA and former Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide.
Mr. Arnold chaired the original Constitutional Convention from 2012 to 2014, the outcomes of which were put to referendum on three occasions including Marriage Equality; reducing the age of eligibility to run for the Presidency; and the removal of the offence of Blasphemy from the Constitution.
Mr Arnold said: “I am glad that EirGrid is conducting a major public engagement process on such an important issue as how best to meet the country’s future energy needs. I was happy to agree to chair the deliberative dialogue part of the process.”
The 99 participants, representing every county in Ireland, with different backgrounds, experiences and ideas, are hearing from and challenging external experts.
On the first evening, these included Professor Brian Ó’Gallachóir, Director of MaREI (the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine research and innovation at University College Cork); Professor John Curtis, Programme Coordinator, Energy and Environment Research, ESRI and; EirGrid chief executive Mark Foley.
Professor Ó’Gallachóir took the participants through the links between electricity and climate change; current and future energy demand and; different electricity generating technologies.
Professor John Curtis outlined the ERSI research exploring public attitudes and preferences related to energy infrastructure.
Mr Foley said: “Shaping Our Electricity Future is a direct response to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan ambition that at least 70% of Ireland’s electricity will come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2030. This week’s dialogue will play a key role in determining how we achieve this goal. We got off to a very strong start on Tuesday evening with very informative presentations and my thanks to the participants who were extremely engaged and asked some very challenging and useful questions. I look forward to the outcome of their discussions and their recommendations.”
The second workshop on Thursday evening will focus on the innovative approaches to developing the electricity grid in order to meet ambitious 2030 renewable energy targets and the third session will make experts from academia, the energy industry and business available to answer questions as participants discuss and formulate their recommendations.
The event forms part of a wider range of consultation initiatives taking place over a 14-week period closing on 14 June 2021. The public can find out more at consult.eirgrid.ie.
Contact David Martin on 085 6030969 for further information