This was the core message of the Irish Wind Association’s chief executive Dr Michael Walsh, speaking ahead of the body’s conference this week.

Dr Walsh claimed that the next nine months will prove make or break time for the Irish energy sector as national targets of delivering 40% of electricity from renewable resources by 2020 hinge on the Government eliminating unnecessary red-tape and providing a stable framework for investors in 2010.

He argued that the vast opportunity for Ireland from wind energy is being seriously threatened by an over-complicated and unstable policy framework.

“2010 will be a make or break year for the Irish energy sector as decisions and plans that are made this year will have a far reaching impact,” said Dr Walsh.

“We stand on the precipice of a very significant economic and sustainable energy opportunity.

“The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is leading the development of Ireland’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan to implement the green economy but all other relevant departments and agencies need to be fully aligned with this effort and equipped to deliver on the key actions required.

“The importance of the Green economy has been repeatedly stressed by the Government in statements from the 2008 Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal to last year’s revised programme for government.

“However, our members are growing frustrated at the increasingly difficult investment environment, which is complicated by a lack of co-ordination between official agencies.

“An IWEA Deloitte Study published last year indicated that there would be approx €14.7 billion invested in the Irish energy sector from now to 2020 but this investment will not happen unless a stable policy framework is in place.

“Our conference will be a key moment in trying to resolve this as it will provide a forum for exchange between investors and government in advance of the key decisions of this year.”

Sam Bond

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