RICHARD DELEVAN makes some of the strongest arguments about sustainable energy policies for Ireland. 1 He thinks nuclear energy in Ireland is a red herring and it is, because it polarises the discussion. He thinks sustainable energy can incorporate renewables like wind power and solar energy but I haven't heard him castigate the dozens of local interests around the country that think wind turbines damage the environment. I like Delevan's challenge to Irish trade unions. He spotlights how encrusted union interests have ensured Irish energy prices will remain higher than most European countries since Ireland has to guarantee state employment for inefficient ranks of workers. The only way to remove this scab from the Irish economy is to privatise Irish energy production.
Here are some things Ireland Inc should consider.
1. Continue grant aid for small scale installation of renewable energy devices. Even though it's a bit of a scam since grant aid flows to only those who use approved installers which guarantees the cost of a solar panel installed by a grant-aided specialist on an Irish roof is much more expensive than a homeowner sourcing the devices and installers without government aid.
2. Mandate that all government offices, rented or owned, are A-rated buildings for energy usage. This will mean insulation, micropower and smart engineering of managed power.
3. Mandate that all vehicles in the goverment motor pool consume 10% less fuel per mile in 2008 than in 2007.
4. Cap all mileage expenses for civil service and politicians at the 1.4 litre rate.
5. Require all local authorities to source a minimum of 15% of their electrical power from renewable energy resources.
6. Enact legislation that allows police, fire, and government offices the unchallengeable right to erect wind turbines on top of their buildings and inside their property lines.
7. Pay off selected senior unionised Electricity Service Board workers by letting them retire early. That worked well with Irish Rail employees over the age of 50. .
8. Install traffic signals on major streets in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Galway that tell motorists to shut off their engines when the lights are red. Just like in Germany, the traffic signals will instruct motorists to start their engines five seconds before the lights turn green.
9. Build a hydrogen highway between Dublin and Cork by installing four service stations along the motorway that dispense hydrogen fuel.
10. Paint stencils of bicyles inside the bus lanes of major cities and require bus drivers to initial a training document in which they indicate their understanding of the term "bicycle lane".
1 Richard Delvan -- "Nuclear a bad idea because it's stupid" in The Sunday Tribune, July 1, 2007.