A landmark report on Ireland’s energy security suggests that Ireland should develop significant gas storage facilities to reduce the risks posed by any future supply disruptions.
Public gas storage on land or a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal are two options identified by international consultants in the report as ways for Ireland to enhance its energy security over the next eight years.
The release of Ireland’s energy security report to 2030 comes amid a crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, soaring household and business energy bills, and fears that Ireland will suffer power outages this winter.
Coalition leaders will meet tonight [Monday] to further discuss preparations for next week’s budget, with helping businesses facing rising energy costs to be at the center of their discussions.
Ahead of the meeting, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan will unveil the energy supply security review of Irish electricity and natural gas systems, which was carried out by independent experts from Cambridge Economic Policy Associates . It examines the potential risks to Ireland’s natural gas and energy supply and examines a range of measures to mitigate these risks. These include the need for additional capacity to import energy, the development of energy storage, the diversification of fuels and the commissioning of renewable gases such as hydrogen.
The review will be subject to a public consultation period until the end of October, before recommendations are presented to the government for approval.
Options listed in the document include the development of a state-owned gas storage facility that could be filled from the gas grid and used strategically, operating during times when there is a significant risk of disruptions. demand in Ireland. Mr. Ryan’s public comments in recent weeks suggest he supports this proposal.
However, the review also sets out other options, including the use of floating LNG terminals during times when there is a risk of supply disruption to Ireland. The government has not joined several other European countries in seeking to secure such floating terminals.
The Green Party is very concerned about the use of LNG because some producers use the environmentally damaging process of fracking to extract the gas. Others in government – particularly in Fine Gael – believe the use of LNG should not be ruled out. Government policy is that it would be inappropriate to allow or proceed with the development of LNG terminals in Ireland before the outcome of the Energy Security Review.
Another option in the review is accelerating energy efficiency and fuel diversification from gas to renewable fuels.
Concerns over Ireland’s ability to produce enough electricity this winter have prompted the public sector to take energy-saving measures, such as reducing office thermostats, as well as advising households to limit their use during peak hours between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Rising bills saw the prospect of a windfall tax on energy company profits included in the budget to help fund a multi-billion euro cost-of-living package to support struggling households.
The government is leaning towards new electricity bill credits similar to the €200 rebate earlier this year to help families with their utility bills on an electricity price cap option, which is being considered as risky for state finances in the event of further price increases.
On Sunday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar outlined measures being considered to help businesses, including low-cost loans and deep subsidies for energy-intensive exporters and manufacturers. He also said the possibility of lump sum payments or a way to offer a discount on bills for small and medium-sized businesses was also being explored. “The objective is obviously to ensure that viable but vulnerable businesses survive and that the jobs of the people who work there are protected,” he told RTÉ Radio.