Ireland now has in place the strongest climate action programme the country has ever seen, including a commitment to increase the share of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030. This will involve a transformation of Ireland’s grid infrastructure and require an energy transition which empowers citizens and supports open, equal and meaningful community participation.
However, while there is general agreement that action on climate change is essential and the climate movement is growing in Ireland, there is relatively little agreement or understanding on what that actually means for people. There is also a lack of debate in the media around possible choices and impacts of those choices. This is particularly true regarding energy and energy infrastructure.
Recognisant of this, in late 2020, RGI and its two Irish NGO & TSO Members,
Friends of the Earth and EirGrid, have launched a new collaborative project, ‘Our Energy Future’. The core activity of the project will be to initiative inclusive discussions and reflections with communities, civil society organisations, local groups, and other stakeholders. Over 3 years, the project will support diverse, open dialogues on the challenges and opportunities associated with Ireland’s energy transformation, from development of grid infrastructure, to the need for a decarbonised, secure and affordable electricity, with a much higher share of community participation.
More concretely, this entails:
Engaging with organisations and the public about what the energy transition means and how it may impact Ireland and their locality;
Raising awareness and building capacity on the importance and development of community participation, including any roadblocks. This will also include building capacity on the important role of necessary electricity grid infrastructure as enablers of Ireland’s energy transition.
Identifying actors who have an interest in a more continuous exchange with Friends of the Earth and amongst themselves, facilitated by Friends of the Earth.
Engaging with issues regarding the strategic planning of energy infrastructure in order to promote development which does not result in adverse climate or environmental impacts.
Engaging with the Irish Government on establishing climate action as part of a structured social dialogue processesand promoting the proper consideration of energy and energy infrastructure.
Examining and engaging with relevant energy policy processes.
In 2022, Friends of the Earth will begin reaching out to actors across Ireland to involve them in discussions. Engagement events will also be held by Friends of the Earth .
This project was set up under the framework of RGI's
'IRD' (Implementing RGI Declarations) projects. These are national level collaborations between TSOs and NGOs, which are based on the principles of the European Grid Declarations on Transparency and Public Participation and on Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation. RGI also runs two IRD projects in Germany and one in Italy.