My address at Launch of Lumcloon Power & Hanwha Battery Project at Shannonbridge
An Taoiseach, fellow Oireachtas Members, Councillors, and all here today,
I am delighted to be here, in Shannonbridge, for this sod turning by my Government colleague, Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Minister Eamon Ryan sends his best wishes and is sorry he cannot be here to join us.
Taoiseach, you are very welcome, once again, to this wonderful county.
Offaly, as you can see this morning, has so much to offer, and is at the forefront of playing its part in a sustainable energy future for Ireland.
Since we entered coalition Government over two years ago, the Taoiseach and I have worked on many issues together, and I want to thank you publicly for your support and indeed your deep personal interest in my work - particularly in relation to planting trees, organic farming, and indeed wider biodiversity issues.
Working together, this Government has done some very good work on ensuring a better country for future generations. Our Climate Action Plan provides a clear path to make sure that the next generation will be left with a legacy on which they can continue to work, and a world in which they can thrive.
I know some actions will be difficult for some, but we will not regret the progress we make now, when we see the results in the future.
This county has always been central to the energy needs of Ireland. For so many decades here in Offaly, power generation has been part of the community, sustaining many families over the years.
As the world continues to evolve and adapt, so too does Offaly; and today represents yet another shift in how our energy system will work into the future – and further supporting renewables represents one more step in the right direction.
The batteries which will be on this site were originally commissioned to provide electricity support services when the wind power was high in order to stabilise voltage on the grid - I am delighted to hear that they will now be helping to contribute to reserve power when the wind is low.
In the coming months and years we will need many more battery energy storage systems in Ireland. This will allow more renewables onto the system, will increase the percentage of renewable energy we can use at any one time, and will enable us to achieve our target of 80% renewable electricity by 2030.
My colleague Minister Ryan will open a Storage Policy Consultation in the coming weeks to ensure Ireland’s policy for energy storage is well designed. And I would encourage many of you here today with an interest in this area to participate and feed into policy consultation.
I know that the cost of living crisis is currently affecting the lives of many people across the country – and while few short term fixes on the energy side exist, continued investment in renewables will offer us more security in the medium to longer term.
Once again I want to thank you all for being here today and wish everybody involved in this project the very best in the coming months and years. I forward to returning to see the site in operation in the near future.