Stand down of agreements to export renewable energy to the UK gives a vital window to address Ireland's energy needs.

In the wake of the announcement last week by the Minister for Energy, Communication and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, that plans to export wind energy from Ireland to the UK are unlikely to go ahead in the short term [1], An Taisce has asked the Minister to advance a holistic energy plan for Ireland.

An Taisce previously outlined its concern [2] regarding Ireland locking in to the export of electricity while failing to make cuts to energy imports, leaving Ireland's domestic energy situation extremely exposed.

At the same time Ireland is facing massive penalties and costs through failing to meet its own national obligations on energy emissions.

An Taisce now calls on Minister Pat Rabbitte TD to use the unplanned stand down on the export agreement to plan for its energy future that tackles the twin problems of climate change and energy security.

According to Ireland's National Trust, the process should be an open partnership and consultation with the citizens of Ireland, the end result being a National Energy Strategy.

The strategy should outline:

How our energy consumption will be reduced. A comprehensive household energy insulation under which 100,000 homes are enhanced each year to cut heating bills and enhance comfort levels. An assessment of the types of renewable energy & storage that could be available. A spatial strategy which addresses the issues associated with renewable energy projects such as location and siting. An assessment of how National requirements and Local requirements can be balanced. An assessment of how local and national communities can participate in the decision making. An assessment of how strengthened two way import/export interconnection with the UK & Europe may overcome the need for backup gas fired generation. How to stop further carbon loss from peat extraction and degradation. How to cease peat based electricity generation within the next 12 to 14 months Phasing out coal burning at Moneypoint over the next 3 to 4 years The timetabled phase-out of all peat, coal and oil in domestic heating. Ireland's energy challenge is immense. The scale of action to reduce climate emissions and secure our energy future needs to be considered as comparable to a national emergency, and treated similarly.