Last week the East Cork Journal revealed that Youghal is earmarked for one of the first solar farms in East Cork.
The report raised a lot of questions locally with many stating the great energy debate should be about prices, the environmental benefits will then follow.
Under EU law we must create 40% of our electricity from green energy with 16% of our overall need for heat, transport and electricity coming from renewable sources.
However chasing the renewable energy dream takes cash and commitment.
For all its advantages clean energy production is limited when you need it most a situation our government are more than aware of.
As a result of increased government levy’s domestic and business electricity bills are set to see a dramatic increase from this October.
The Commission of Energy Regulation has approved a 30% increase to a government Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy designed to offset the production of electricity through renewable sources.
The rise will see the domestic bill increase to a rate of up to €10 a month with small business facing a levy of €32 a month.
The escalation will see a cumulative increase of 414% since 2011 on the domestic bill before vat is added.
The rise is expected to net an income of almost €500million for the government to reinvest in the amount of renewable energy created here.
St Vincent De Paul (SVP) say for many struggling to make ends meet the increase will make it more difficult.
They say over the past number of years energy poverty is a phrase that’s become part of our vernacular.
Jennifer Thompson, SVP Social Policy Development officer says, “Given the year-on-year increases over the last five years, SVP fears a much more significant charge into the future”
“As it stands, the PSO is imposed on all domestic customers at a flat rate, irrespective of household energy usage. It creates a disproportionate burden on low income customers. With VAT added, domestic customers are effectively paying a tax on a tax.”
“In the interest of social justice and fairness, we urge the Government to review the application of the PSO levy to struggling energy customers and spread the cost burden more evenly between electricity customers and renewable energy producers.” she said
Currently Ireland are producing 25% of its electricity through a mix of green energy sources however the government must hit its EU target of 40% by 2020 or face a fine of €360million.