Debate on Solar Energy Planning Guidelines Continues
Today’s Irish Examiner article highlights the continuing debate on solar energy, and the need for specific planning guidelines for solar farms, such as the ones in the ‘Planning and Development Guidance Recommendations for Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Schemes in Ireland’ report compiled in November 2016 by FAC, and funded by the SEAI.
It’s estimated that a further 10 photo voltaic schemes have received planning permission since the publication of the report, with many more at the pre-planning stages.
The approval of these projects will help to being Ireland into line to meet its 2020 renewable energy target. Under the EU’s ’20-20-20′ Effort Sharing Decision, Ireland is required to meet the following targets by 2020:
A 20% reduction in Final Energy Consumption (FEC), as compared to average energy use in the period 2001-2005;
A 20% reduction in GHG emissions from 2005 levels in the Non-ETS sector; and
An increase in the contribution of renewable energy to FEC to 16% by 2020 and an increase in the overall share of energy from renewable sources in transport to 10%.
Solar energy schemes can be delivered quickly, with schemes usually taking between 12 and 16 weeks to deliver. In addition, the construction of such developments to create employment would be of benefit to the national and local economy.
The standard size of the solar energy projects which have been approved for planning in Ireland is five megawatts in size, on a site of 10 hectares. Other, larger schemes are also currently in the planning pipeline.