Ireland's attitude towards renewable energy options has been questioned by a Waterford councillor, who admitted she was astonished by a tidal wave of objections to off-shore wind energy proposals.
Waterford-based Green Party official Councillor Susan Gallagher revealed she received just a single email supporting her position on wind power - but was swamped by 461 email objections.
Councillor Gallagher said that while she expected some objections to onshore wind energy proposals, she was astonished by the number of objections to offshore wind projects - with some opponents demanding that the wind turbines be located at least 22km out to sea.
"It is hard to know what the actual numbers of people in favour or against something actually are," she told WLRFM. "We are all more likely to speak up when we oppose something rather than when we are in favour of it."
Councillor Gallagher was so surprised by the level of opposition she posted on social media about the apparent public stance on renewable energy.
She said that Ireland needed to publicly clarify its future energy plans in light of the climate change challenge - and explain to householders the stark choices the country faces.
Many householders are confused about such renewable energy projects or have adopted a stance based on misleading information.
"We are running out of time. We (have) seen the report last week. We still need energy, society cannot function without it. It has to come from somewhere. We have an awful lot of wind in Ireland, so it seems like one of the obvious sources," she said.
"What interested me was the number of people opposed to any form of offshore. I had expected a lot more would oppose on-shore wind. That surprised me, actually."
She said a lot of people had genuinely held concerns about such wind energy projects and needed reassurance about them.
"I have asked a few energy engineering experts about the size of these turbines.
"I have received emails asking that all turbines be at least 22km out from the coast. The problem that we have in Waterford, is that there is very deep water beyond that."
Source – The Irish Independent