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Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I thank Ms MacEvilly for her statement. I call now on her namesake, Mr. McEvilly, to make his opening statement.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I thank Ms Connolly for her opening statement and all the witnesses for their opening statements. There is a great deal to think about. It is hard to know where to begin when asking questions. Can I get agreement from the committee that members will take only two minutes to ask questions? I will ask our witnesses to be as brief and as succinct as they can be, notwithstanding there is much...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Before I bring in Ms Connolly, is Mr. Melvin saying Brexit has put Ireland in a situation where it is not complying with the energy security requirements of EU law?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I thank Ms MacEvilly for that answer. I call Dr. McGowan.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I recall Mr. McGowan making that point clearly on the last occasion. I thank him pointing that out again. I note Mr. McEvilly's hand is raised but I will bring in Ms Connolly first.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I think the first question is for the regulator.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Okay. Mr. McEvilly, the question was on the solar panels, but feel free to comment on any of the questions that have been asked.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Mr. McEvilly, we are having issues with your audio. I am not sure why.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: It seems to be okay now. Continue and we will see how it goes.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Thank you. Does Ms Connolly wish to comment?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: On that point, one of the witnesses before us last week, Mr. Keating from Shannon Foynes Port, spoke about the 80 GW opportunity as opposed to the 5 GW we are pushing for 2030. He felt strongly that a grid connection should not be a requirement of the offshore procurement process simply because the large international investors do not necessarily want to bring their energy to Ireland - in...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Thank you for that, Mr. Gannon.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: We will go to the regulator first.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: There is the point, of course, that the market is designed so that it makes sense to have the capacity that is not necessarily used. It is only used in extreme situations. I do not want to take more of the committee's time; I have hogged it enough. I will go to Ms Connolly and Mr. McEvilly, who wanted to respond to Deputy O'Sullivan's question.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I will have to cut across the Deputy because I want to be fair to other members on speaking time. I call the regulator.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Members might be inclined to correct it. There was a question for Mr. McEvilly.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: I know Ms MacEvilly could but I am going to push on. It has been very interesting to hear those points but could the CRU representatives address the question on data centres?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: To add to that, is there not also a question as to whether we should be building such data centres at all? There is the question of the moratorium which we discussed. There were different views across the committee on that issue but it is a fundamental question. Is it wise to allow the energy demand from data centres to go up to the 30% Deputy Whitmore mentioned? Will that make everything...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: Mr. McEvilly mentioned the SEAI's heat study a few times. We will have the SEAI representatives before the committee next week. That is certainly something we can explore further with them. Deputy Smith was indicating but I think she has dropped off the call. I call Senator Higgins.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action: Energy Challenges: Discussion (29 Mar 2022)

Brian Leddin: The Senator asked eight or nine questions.

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