Sammy Wilson: The power shortages in the Republic of Ireland show the perils of Northern Ireland becoming increasingly dependent on renewables

The admission by EirGrid that the Irish Republic will face severe power shortages and blackouts if they do not keep coal and peat burning power stations open until at least 2025, is further confirmation of the mad energy polices being followed by the Irish and British governments.

By Sammy Wilson
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:26 pm
Sammy Wilson is DUP MP for East Antrim
Sammy Wilson is DUP MP for East Antrim

They are falling over themselves to respond to the damaging demands of the green lobby.

The facts are that the damage is already being done and becoming increasingly apparent even today.

Last week, the Irish government had to seek help from the UK government to avoid blackouts in Dublin. Using the East-West interconnector, they had to purchase 3000Mwh of electricity on an emergency basis from power stations in GB.

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As it was emergency power, they paid one hundred times more than the normal price at a cost of £12m to electricity consumers in the Republic.

So far, the Irish government have tried to keep news of this emergency purchase quiet, since it is bound to anger electricity consumers that, just as is happening in GB, ill-thought out energy policies are hitting ordinary people in their pockets.

There are a number of political lessons to learn from the bailout which the British government have given the Irish to keep their lights on.

At the same time as the Republic is trying to strangle our economy with its insistence on the full implementation of the NI Protocol, the UK rushes to the aid of Ireland when it is in need.

Whilst the UK keeps the lights burning in Dublin, the Irish government does its best to empty shop shelves in NI. It is time that the UK government started using its leverage over Ireland to protect its citizens in NI.

The second lesson from this incident is the danger that the single electricity market presents for NI. If the Irish Government cannot generate enough electricity at certain times because of low wind speeds or demand peaking, is there a danger that electricity will be acquired from NI to fill the capacity deficit in the Republic, pushing prices up or putting our own grid under threat?

There have already been 6 amber warnings in NI this year, threatening blackouts that would be incredibly damaging to industry and domestic users. Unfortunately, the energy issue is one the Assembly have not focused on to date, other than to capitulate to the climate zealots hoping to achieve net zero by 2050. I suspect most of those calling for net zero have not thought through the consequences for ordinary citizens when they engage in such rhetoric.

The costly lesson from the Republic last week should give cause for a serious reconsideration of the race towards greater dependency on renewables in Northern Ireland.

Sammy Wilson is DUP MP for East Antrim

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