Household Energy Price Hikes: Time to move to renewable energy?

Household Energy Price Hikes: Time to move to renewable energy?

Energy Price HikesAt the beginning of the week Bord Gáis confirmed that its residential electricity prices will increased by 12% next month with a further increase of 25% expected in October. Flogas also just upped its standing charge for existing gas customers by 40% and although ESB and Airtricity haven’t yet decided whether or not to increase their prices it is presumed they will follow suit.

Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Operations Officer at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) emphasised the dependence in Ireland on imported fossil fuels at a time of increased volatility in the global market, “There is undoubtedly a continuing upward pressure on prices due to our dependence on these imported fuels. This is a cause of concern for both homeowners and businesses”. “There is now a need to exploit natural energy resources”, he added.

There are plans to build a new transmission network to deliver renewable energy, such as wind energy, to Irish households over the next few years, however Cathal Hanley, Economist with the Competition Authority commented that “our economy has shrunk by about 15% over the last few years and economic growth is not as strong as a few years ago. So we may not need all this extra electricity that’s being planned… and if you have a surplus of electricity, then that surplus still has to be paid for”.

Despite more energy price hikes in the coming weeks, new research by SEAI reports that consumers here pay 15% below the EU average for electricity and 31% less for gas.

Have your say:

  • Household Energy Price Hikes: Time to move to renewable energy?


There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Eamon at 2:37 pm

    Getting worried about the obsesssion of ruining our coastline with ugly wind generators. This is pure vandalism and a sure killer of the tourist industry. Current applications by companies in Ireland are seeking taller wind pillars at a closeness to shore that is not tolerated anywhere else. Who feels any confidence that our regulators and planners will protect our coastline?
    The Irish Times led the lunacy charge recently with an editorial suggesting a desalination plant powered by wind generators to provide water for Dublin. This in a country where the midlands are waterlogged most of the year.

  2. niallwhyte at 1:26 pm

    PV “photovoltaic” panels are one answer
    they generate power from day/sunlight
    no oil, no electricity cost to run , no
    maintenance to do , and there only getting cheaper !!
    I have 1.5 kws on my house and have reduced my esb by 30% check out our Facebook page at Whyte Melia Electrical !!

  3. Donna Mc Gettigan at 3:55 pm

    we are an island surrounded by coasts so why not build a wind farm along our coasts or use wave technology for a renewable energy, they are freely all around us 🙂

  4. Siobhan at 8:41 am

    Oh dear! Mr. Hanley speaks as a true economist ~ short term-ism seems one of that ilk’s stock in trade. This surplus of electricity that he so starkly warns about ~ what is it? The answer surely is to close down the fossil-fueled generation capacity in an orderly way to make way for clean, CO2 lessened renewables – e.g. Ireland is washed by the Gulf Stream so make use of it with Ocean Current Technology. Do not listen to the gombeens and doom merchants.

    @whistlingJack FYI nuclear fission is a completely discredited, defunct and dangerous technology ~ if you love it so much then I suggest you immediately sign up for nuclear fission plant and a nuclear fission waste depository in your back yard ~ 100 miles will not protect you, even if you’re “content” to merely import the “product” from France or elsewhere.

  5. MARIE at 10:28 pm

    i think if the government doesnt adress the issue of energy and developing alternatives to oil then things are going to get very scary, not just for ireland but the whole world.
    on a personal level, i would love to install solar panel/ alternative energy,but my stumbling block is cost, as like many, my parner has lost his job in construction, wants to retrain but there are few opportunities and even when he does he will only get a 20 euros a week more. i dare say many are in the same boat.

  6. Paddy householder at 6:20 pm

    The most efficient use of money (in terms of domestic household heating) is insulation, followed by large south facing and small north windows and heat recovery from extracted air and warm waste water.

    The small amount of energy necessary to heat a properly designed and insulated house can be most economically provided by natural gas at 4 cents per kW/hr. Solar assistance to water heating should be examined but may not pay in many cases. Heat pumps are not as inexpensiveas they seem as electricity costs 16 cents per kW/hr or four times the price of gas. Heat pump compressors last perhaps seven years (I know, I have replaced two in the last 14 years) and this kills the arguement for using one.

    There is currently a world wide reserve of 250 years of natural gas at current useage and more is being found every year, do not beleive the hype about gas shortages or peak gas or fairy stories that renewable energy is less expensive or more desireable, as if it was, the free market would move us all to renewable energy withour huge taxes on fossil fuels and massive tax breaks for renewables.

  7. whistlingjacksmith at 4:10 pm

    Nuclear energy is the only way to go to produce energy in sufficient quantities for the country’s needs.
    There would be the usual hysterical reaction to any move in that direction, but there are massive nuclear stations less than a hundred miles off the east coast.
    France produces 80% of its energy needs with nuclear power.
    We need 21st century solutions for the energy crisis.

  8. Andy at 1:27 pm

    Very interesting to see the SEAI Chief Operations Officer’s statement on Ireland’s reliance on fossil fuels when SEAI are encouraging consumers to install oil and gas central heating boilers by way of the current SEAI grant scheme.

    It appears he missed the fact that we produce wood pellet fuel in this country so we are not relying on imports, yet SEAI do not offer any incentive to consumers to move wood pellet fuel.

    The change in the grant system to qualify for the Solar Thermal grant has been described as nothing less than downright dangerous.

    Solar Thermal for hot water should be sized to suit the number of occupants in the house Not the floor area of the house unless it is being used to supplement the central heating system which is very hard to justify in this country.

  9. Peter O’Connor at 1:23 pm

    I tried to sell solar panels – really good ones and people baulked at spending – in one go what they would save over 2 – 3 years at ‘current’ prices. Now I have to listen and read drivel form people wondering if we ‘should’ switch to renewable. It’s pathetic.
    We run a B&B and self catering – ALL year. Our gas bill is around €200-. coal and wood about the same. Per annum. I had one guy at a party bemoan the fact he spends €500,- per month and he won’t even allow me to give a free estimate to help his situation. Stupidity. By the way I’m a BER assessor and have the only accredited EU ECO Label accommodation in south of Ireland – I DO know what I’m talking about.
    The banks are obliged by law to offer 3% loans for renewable projects to domestic houses (up to 90% of property value) there’s no excuse anymore for the Irish answer to renewables and insulation – but what’ll it cost?? The answer is too much – not to do it.

  10. Liam Young at 1:22 pm

    Heat Pumps: Many Heat Pumps have an efficiency in excess of 400% ie COP of 4.[Typical 10 yr.old oil boiler can have efficiencies as low as 65%]

    This means for every single € you input on electrical energy to drive the Heat Pump system you actually get back 4 € in real value.

    A domestic Air to Water heat pump is an alternative to the conventional oil or gas boiler. The heat pump will provide the domestic and commercial consumer with all their space heating and hot water requirements.

    A Heat Pump must be accurately sized to the expected demand!!

    It can run in parallel with any conventional system and is a retrofit worth considering.

    For further information or discussion contact Liam on 053-94-27787 or 087-2788352. SEAI registered Commercial and Domestic Energy Auditor.

  11. Damien at 12:48 pm

    Renewable energy yes, but what form? Nothing renewable is remotely in the league of oil for the amount of energy produced. Wind farms are all very well but they look horrendous (has anyone seen the vast numbers of wind generators marching along the North of Spain) and they simply don’t produce the amounts of energy they claim to be able to produce. Furthermore, they can’t operate if the wind is too strong. Then there’s the issue of storage which has still not been properly addressed. Solar energy seems to perform better, certainly on a household basis. Better to put money and effort into decent research into viable alternatives to oil. Find a decent answer and build it. Oil won’t last forever and it’s getting more and more expensive.

  12. Charles Sargent at 12:45 pm

    Ireland is sitting in the path of an everlasting supply of natural wind, wave and tidal energy – all that is needed is the national decision to move towards exploiting it. The “Spirit of Ireland” project proposes to do just that – storing excess energy in pumped-storage seawater reservoirs in our West Coast estuaries, then using hydro-electric generators to use this stored energy when the wind drops. We should start building the necessary infrastructure to achieve this – the rest of Europe will need our exported electricity when the oil & gas starts running out.

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