Renewable Electricity Policy and Development Framework – SEA Report

Renewable Electricity Policy and Development Framework – SEA Scoping Report to be Published Soon

On behalf of the ILI, Tony Williams (President ILI) and Richard Butler (MILI) CSR, attended a stakeholder meeting with the Dept. Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, to discuss the Department’s proposed Renewable Energy Policy and Development Framework (REPDF), which is in the early stages of preparation. The planning consultancy Doyle Kent has been appointed to undertake the SEA for the REPDF in parallel with the Department’s preparation of the policy framework.

The Department has been set the task of preparing a policy framework specifically for the development of on-shore renewables (mostly wind, possibly with some solar), to facilitate meeting Ireland’s current and anticipated future targets for renewable electricity generation. The REPDF will therefore inform future national, regional and county development plans, and planning decisions.

Critically, the Department intends for the REPDF to have a spatial dimension, i.e. it will identify areas most suitable for development of electricity generation infrastructure of large scale (as deemed to be required to meet the targets). This implies that relative landscape sensitivity will need to be analysed at a national level (amongst other environmental and socio-economic sensitivities and factors). This will be of interest to all landscape consultants involved in energy infrastructure projects (on behalf of developers or objectors), landscape character assessment, etc.

The SEA Scoping Report is due to be published in the coming weeks. It is the Department’s intention to complete a draft REPDF and Environmental Report in the summer 2015, with a view to adopting the policy framework by the end of 2015 – an ambitious target considering the complexity of the task and the absence of key supporting information such as a national Landscape Character Assessment.

The ILI will keep members informed of any communications from the Department, and we encourage members to become involved through the ILI and individually once the process formally begins with the publication of the Scoping Report.

 

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