Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the government must do more to justify its €702 million spend on Renewable Energy Schemes since 2011. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the costs were released to him on foot of a Parliamentary Questions submitted to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten:
“What the reply shows is that for the year 2016/17 alone the government will spend €270 million on various forms of renewable energy schemes.
That is a €120 million increase on the preceding year when they spent €150 million.
My specific concern is that the reply indicates there is a continuing focus on wind energy schemes and wind farms, which as we know, are the source of significant amounts of frustration and concern in rural Ireland.
There is significant evidence from a 2013 study carried out by the London School of Economics which found that larger wind farms of 20 or more turbines reduce property values by up to 12% within 2km and by 3% at an 8km to 14km distance.
Those are the kind of considerations, apart from the environmental ones, that people across rural Ireland will be concerned about.
I will be calling on the Minister to explain just how these costs can be justified and if we are in fact getting value for money.
I think It simply cannot be about ticking the boxes of various EU Policy Directives and incurring massive costs for a policy that many see as in the process of being abandoned,” concluded Deputy McGrath.