Fine Gael Laois/Offaly TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte TD, that a full cost benefit analysis is being carried out to look at whether it is mutually beneficial for Ireland and the United Kingdom to reach an agreement to facilitate trade in renewable energy.
Deputy Corcoran Kennedy raised the matter in a Parliamentary Question to the Minister, in the context of the proposed development of windfarms in the Midlands.
“There is a lot of debate surrounding the potential pros and cons of developing windfarms in the Midlands, and I am keen for as much information as possible to be made available so we can come to an educated conclusion on the viability and potential impacts of such developments.
“In response to my request for a cost benefit analysis on the proposed wind farm developments in the Midlands, Minister Rabbitte confirmed that a full cost benefit analysis is on-going to determine if it is mutually beneficial for Ireland and the United Kingdom to enter an Inter-Governmental Agreement to facilitate trade in renewable energy.
“This study is looking at how much energy could be procured by the UK and the possible returns for the Irish Exchequer. This study should make a positive contribution to the debate on windfarms. I believe that the economic potential of the wind energy for export proposal must be examined in full.
“The issue of how local communities would stand to benefit, through job creation and other spin offs, and the level to which the Irish taxpayer could benefit from the export of wind energy must also be closely considered. If the export of wind energy becomes a reality, we must ensure that local communities benefit significantly.
“I look forward to the outcome of this cost benefit analysis, and I intend to pursue this matter with the Minister further.”