Eamon Ryan: Ireland will need fossil fuels going forward
The Environment Minister Eamon Ryan says Ireland will need fossil fuels going forward.
He was speaking as a new report says Ireland is expected to have a shortage of electricity supply for the next five winters.
EirGrid, the State-owned company which operates the national high voltage electricity grid, says this winter will be 'challenging'.
It also says there will be regular warnings of a shortfall in power supply.
In response, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) is outlining a programme to address the forecasted increase in capacity.
It says this will see two decommissioned plants being brought back into operation in October and November.
Minister Ryan toldNewstalk Breakfast it will be 'tight' for the next several years.
"We will need some fossil fuels, and we'll need them to back up the renewable power that is going to dominate our electricity system and our economy.
"Those fossil fuel plants will be turned on when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining.
"That is part of managing our climate challenge, we always knew we were going to do this.
"It is going to be difficult in the next three to four years, it's quite a tight situation... because we will need new, more flexible generation plant [sic] that can match with the wind more effectively.
"We're particularly challenging this winter and the next two to three winters while that new plant is purchased.
"But we can and will manage this".
The Green Party leader also says there is a "competitive advantage" to having renewable sources, given the high cost of gas.
"So this plan will work and will save us money".
But he says plans for a cleaner gas-fired generation plant have not gone as they would like.
"We've been already looking at this, it's been planned for some time.
"Recent auctions haven't delivered a plant that we expected.
"So what we've done is work with EirGrid - and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities - to make sure that in the upcoming auctions early next year and into the next two to three years, we do deliver it".
And Minister Ryan says Ireland "will have a problem this winter" in meeting emission targets.
'The buck lies with the Eamon Ryan'
Speaking earlier, former Environment Minister Denis Naughten said the onus was now on Minister Ryan to make sure 'the lights stay on' in every Irish home.
"The buck lies with the Minister for Energy, Eamon Ryan.
"The first responsibility that he has as Minister for Energy is to ensure that the lights remain on in every single home and business across this country.
"And priority must be given now in the short-term to keep those lights on while we transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner fuel sources.
"If we have a very cold winter then I think that prediction could very well come to light this winter.
"But the likelihood is that it will come to light at some stage over the next few years.
"And that's why it was critically important to have a structured wind-down of our fossil fuel plants over a number of years as we ramped up renewable energy", he said.
While another former energy minister, Pat Rabbitte, said the IDA should be explaining to the public where we stand on electricity supply.