Wilted Greens?

Tide turns against political party working to reduce your energy costs

Working at a local authority last week, I was asked if my Al Gore [ii] Climate Reality 🟢 badge meant I was a member of the Green Party, I said I wasn’t, to which the response was “I fecking hate the greens”. 

Now the (visiting) gent in question was wealthy (well his clothes[iii] were) and heading for the Planning Dept. I responded that Ireland Inc. bought €16bn worth of energy last year and the Greens were helping to reduce that. That kept the conversation going at least.

CSO Household Budget Survey 2015-16, Update is ongoing due out later this year (2024) hopefully. Energy prices have doubled since this version and our Km travelled are also going up.

Why don’t the Greens highlight the cost in euro of our fossil fuels addiction more often? Ireland’s businesses spent €16.2Bn[iv] on energy in 2022 up 83% whilst the quantity jumped 22% i.e. we used 22% more kWh year on year mainly due to aviation increases.

If the IFA can highlight the value of exporting c.€2.5Bn worth of beef that pollutes our waterways and is apparently unprofitable to farmers (who lets be honest have a hard job making money), why can’t the cost of energy imports be highlighted?

CSO household budget surveys consistently show transport and energy costs dwarfing food. Businesses complain about the cost of energy. Farmers ditto. 

Q3’24 Fuel cost comparison per 100km from SEAI, legally required to be displayed in your local fuel station – go ask them where it is, next time you are in. Be sure to buy a coffee though to keep them in business.

Internal combustion engine cars use 60% more energy than battery electric. Or more positively battery electric costs you 60% less to run. See the Q3’24 image below from SEAI:


Yet NIMBYs and Putin’s Puppets continue to be allowed to delay our wind and solar farms and divide us by amplifying non-issues. As if it will cost them money – when the opposite is true (views may be priceless but wind turbines are beautiful machines in my view, image of my local ‘view’ with proposed Dublin Array below – build’em now please).

Passing through Reykjavik last autumn for work I was struck by my guide’s electric bill of just €10 per month. Why aren’t we focusing our politicians on developing Ireland’s abundant wind energy opportunity to reduce Irish energy costs across the board?

If environmentally aware Iceland[v] can do it with geothermal pipes scattered across their landscape (on the surface) surely Ireland can plant a few wind turbines offshore?

Ireland’s first and last windfarm off Arklow was commissioned in 2004 – twenty years ago![vi]

Our dispersed settlement patterns, excessive driving distances[vii] and house sizes mean we’ll never get to €10 per month – but €100 per month is worth shooting for.

My parting shot to that gent was to vote for your wallet! Maybe we all should vote with our wallets for #climateaction and the emergency buildout of offshore wind farms around our coasts.

We are in a war time situation (Slava Ukraini), and #climateemergency, due process needs to be set aside for a period offshore. Engineering yes, environmental yes, objectors no.

Some fun I hope in references below. Sun is shining so carpe diem etc. I will come back to edit this for errors and omissions, feedback welcome – it will help me get the next book written!

Proposed Dublin Array from Killiney Hill, I’ve lived most of my life around this area, I welcome these beautiful machines. each adds a marine reef to generate food for birds and other marine life. Image courtesy Dublin Array via Ossian Smyth TD.
Front cover The Economist April 2023.

PS one last plug from last year’s TheEconomist Newspaper Limited illustrating that we should ‘hug pylons not trees’. I am all for trees but reducing fossil fuels has to come first.

[i] “Wilted Greens” This is the catchy cover headline from today’s Irish Times, not my view but you take your headlines where can. Wilted Greens: Tide turns against the party at time of peak climate crisis https://www.irishtimes.com/politics/2024/06/22/irelands-greens-party-has-wilted-tide-turns-against-the-party-at-time-of-peak-climate-crisis-as-has-happened-elsewhere-in-europe/  

[ii] Check out Al Gore’s latest project https://climatetrace.org/ and see if your business is on his map of polluters.

[iii] Just for balance; back in the day when I was engaged in the quest for world domination aka the internet, I would have been similarly dressed and heading for the boardroom etc. We need developers and risk takers just as much as we do farmers (and energy management consultants).  

[iv] https://www.irishtimes.com/business/2024/06/18/irish-business-spent-162bn-on-energy-in-2022-up-83-cso/ “There was a 1.3 per cent increase in energy use by the Industry sector while it rose by 47 per cent in the Services sector,” said Dympna Corry, statistician in the climate and energy division of the CSO. “Purchases of jet kerosene accounted for a large proportion of the increase in the Services sector due to a 76 per cent increase from 2,903 kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) in 2021 to 5,096 ktoe in 2022.”

[v] Justin Bieber was not officially banned from Iceland, but his actions during a video shoot did spark controversy and criticism. In his music video for the song ‘Cold Water’, which was filmed in Iceland, Bieber and others were seen trampling on moss in the Eldhraun lava field1. This type of moss is one of the country’s most sensitive ecosystems and can take a long time to recover from trampling.

The Icelandic Environment Association criticized Bieber’s video for the potential damage it could cause to the moss1. Since the release of the video, there has been a significant increase in tourism to the area, leading to further damage3. As a result, authorities have had to close the site on multiple occasions to allow it to recover3.

[vi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arklow_Bank_Wind_Park

[vii] If we take 2019 as last comparable year Irish cars travelled 16,000+Km per year on average, European cars (with bigger distance opportunities) travelled 11,000km.  The only fools paying for this cost is us. My EV has just done 17,000km so I have work to do too.