Irish government needs to balance rates increase with EU commitments
Ireland’s commitment to generate 40% of its gross electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 is at stake, as commercial rates revaluations for wind farms are double those of fossil fuel plants, which is negating profitability of wind energy and creating a disincentive for investment. Ireland will be facing fines of hundreds of millions of euro for the shortfall, as well as having to purchase CO2 emission permits. And in the renewable sector, the uncertainty around revaluations of rates by the Valuation Office of Ireland is affecting the financial viability of existing renewable projects, and turning away investment for newer projects.
As the Government prepares to lead through the Dáil the Valuation Amendment No.2 Bill (2012), whereby renewable energy, including wind energy, will see an approximate 218% increase in rates liability, IWEA and Wind Farm owners across Ireland have decided to approach the Minister of State, Simon Harris T.D., to request and amendment to the Bill and ask for his support within the Committee and Dáil deliberations to come to exempt wind energy from the increase.
In 2013, around €240m in fuel imports were saved by using Ireland’s own generated wind energy, reducing the dependency on fuel imports and the C02 emissions. Wind energy also contributes to the Irish economy in terms of jobs and investment, that will be jeopardised by the increased rates.