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Extreme weather and the opportunities for renewable energy

Peter McArdle Peter McArdle

In the aftermath of storms Abigail, Desmond and Barney, which hit Ireland over Winter, causing massive damage, meteorologists now believe that this year is destined to be the hottest on record, warmer even than 2015 which is currently the hottest year ever recorded. Erratic weather patterns have become more and more frequent, extreme weather is the “New Normal”.

Public engagement will rise from this experience of extreme weather and should result in strong policy responses with Government’s realising the need to make their countries more resilient. This involves putting in place the right strategies to cope with climate change, before the costs (both economic and environmental) become exceedingly high.

Following the publication of the Government’s white paper detailing the policy framework to support Ireland’s Transition to a low carbon future, the renewable energy sector in Ireland represents a massive opportunity for the Government to take affirmative action against climate change. Technologies such as onshore wind, anaerobic digestion, waste-to-energy and potentially solar have the potential to contribute significantly towards Ireland’s climate change goals.

Sustainability is no longer the preserve of the happy few; different forces are compelling many businesses and other organisations to recalibrate their operations in a more sustainable fashion. Now more than ever is an ideal time to invest in renewable energy.