I recently came across a report on how Ireland could benefit even more from wind energy. Almost a fifth of Irish electricity already comes from renewable energy sources as the installed wind energy capacity has reached 2,000 MW in 2013.
Installed capacity of renewables have grown eight-fold since 1990 and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per household has dropped by 40 percent in twenty years.
Further cuts in emissions are projected as the country has a goal of 40 percent renewable electricity by 2020 (compared to an average of 20 percent for the European Union). The country currently imports over 85 percent of the total energy it is consuming.
The local government is pushing for energy efficiency and renewables and enacted a carbon tax as early as 2010. In as little as three years, this tax raised a billion euros ($1.3 billion), slashed emissions by as much as 6.7 percent in 2011 alone while the economy grew.
As I noted in a previous article, carbon taxes are very successful in cutting greenhouse gases emissions in various countries such as Australia or British Columbia. Economic powerhouses such as China and South Africa will implement their own next year.
Ireland could also benefit largely from marine energy sources according to the local Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The Irish ocean energy industry could support 17,000 to 52,000 jobs and contribute €4-10 billion to the economy by 2030.
Irish leadership on renewables doesn’t end on the island. Indeed, a local company recently signed a $525 million deal for a 225 MW wind farm in Ghana, west Africa. This project will allow the country to get 10 percent of its electricity needs by wind.