Renewable and sustainable energy sources are plentiful

The Dogger Bank wind farm – the largest of its kind in the sea
The Dogger Bank wind farm – the largest of its kind in the sea

“THANK God we are surrounded by water” is a little Irish ditty by Dominic Behan. But some of the words and verses have other connotations in relation to solutions for the use of renewable and sustainable energy.

The world currently emits billions of tons of greenhouse gases every year. If Ireland is ever to reach their goal in relation to reduction in greenhouse gas, they will never achieve a clean energy transition without unprecedented innovation and transformation. It can be intimated the transition from fossil fuel to a renewable energy source plays a vital global role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the mitigation of climate change. Energy is so important in our daily lives because it is a basic human need. Over time we have learned how to change energy from one form to another and then use it to work.

The main renewable energy sources are those which will not run out and can be used over again. These primarily include wind, tidal and solar energy. With EU industry subsidies, Ireland has continued to develop wind power following the commissioning of the country’s first “offshore commercial wind farm” in Co Mayo in 1992. It has increased more rapidly from the 2000s onwards and currently wind provides a large percentage of electricity demand in Ireland. However, wind power is intermittent, meaning that turbines are reliant on weather and therefore aren’t capable of generating electricity when winds are unsuitable.

Surrounded by water, Ireland is ideally located to benefit from our natural marine renewable energy resource generated in the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland possesses one of the richest wave and tidal energy climates in the world. Wave energy projects complement wind energy and deliver a more predictable stable renewable portfolio and it is estimated that Ireland has up to 18GW wave resource of its west coast. The wave energy resources potentially available could meet 75 per cent of Ireland’s electricity.

The sustainable development of the offshore wind and wave energy sectors requires optimising the exploitation of the resources, and it is in relation to this and the shared challenge for both industries to reduce their costs that the option of integrating offshore wind and wave energy arose during the past decades.

Apparently, there are challenges that need to be overcome first to use this energy to feed the electricity grid. These challenges explains why at the present wave energy is not our main renewable energy source. The first and probably most obvious type of challenge that needs to be overcome are technological challenges. Not only the wave energy device itself, also planning, building, maintaining, and connecting it to the grid requires all kinds of technical


Renewable and sustainable energy sources are plentiful and all around us. Development is continuing on an all-Ireland basis. In the initial period, development was carried out under a private-public partnership arrangement. Going forward, we must continue and invest in clean energy innovation in a sustained and strategic way.

James G Barry

Dublin 6

Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris

Heaton-Harris prophecies have proved misleading

AFTER 18 months of frozen devolution, the government has to be held account for its failures. Downing Street has a duty to decide how NI is to be governed under Rishi Sunak’s brainchild, the Windsor Framework.

An end-of-term verdict on the dismal performance of the NIO would highlight gross negligence. Stormont is unlikely to resume work soon. The Heaton-Harris prophecies of breakthrough agreements, enabling the DUP to return to Stormont, have proved misleading. Instead of time wasting raising false dawns, he would be better providing proper government for the NI community.

The situation is bleak. Stormont is apparently broke. Financially crippled by successive executives amassing hundreds of millions of pounds of recurring debt. A cash-strapped British Treasury will be hard pressed to rescue such a depressive record of collective


There needs to be a conversation directing the government to install a ‘full compliment of ministers under the charge of a skilful Secretary of State with a plan of action’. A plan which pro tempore explores incorporating the use of MLAs operating an ‘advisory consultative committee system’.

It would not be joint authority with MLA involvement. NIO ministers would also respond to issues raised by MLAs on behalf of constituents. All it entails is seating rearranged in the assembly.

Talks with the DUP and the government can continue until a settlement or breaking point. Meantime with NI in political meltdown, the government needs to act to replace the absence of executive decision-taking.

It can be operational by this


David McNarry

Strangford, Co Down

An Israeli flag stands on the top of a destroyed building in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel (Leo Correa, AP)
An Israeli flag stands on the top of a destroyed building in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel (Leo Correa, AP)

Greed knows no bounds

SURELY it is well past the time, when the world is calling out for an end to the genocide in Gaza, to expel the ambassadors of both Israel and the US. I say both because the US could end the ethnic cleansing and mass murder of innocent civilians with a phone call to Netanyahu and his criminal regime.

Calls for a ceasefire have been made by a huge majority in the United Nations but these have been defeated by the US, Israel and a handful of islands in the Pacific region. And the murderous genocide goes on, with attacks on schools, hospitals, ambulances, and civilian accommodation. Around 50 per cent of the homes in northern Gaza have now been destroyed, just as the Jewish colonists destroyed the homes of the indigenous people and drove them from their lands in 1948 in what the Palestinians call the Nakba.

Well, it seems that another Nakba is on the cards and that the inhabitants of Gaza are to be driven out into the Sinai desert, as soon as Israel and the US can persuade Egypt to accept the bribes they have offered to facilitate this.

Israel will then be able to develop the vast natural gas field discovered off Gaza’s coast by British Gas in 1999 containing many billions of dollars of gas, and not opened up until now because the proceeds would have had to be shared with the Palestinians.

Greed knows no bounds.

Eugene F Parte

Belfast BT9