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Ireland least prepared for winter gas crisis – expert warns

DUBLIN: It is alleged that Ireland is not sufficiently prepared to deal with a winter gas crisis. Ireland is “the least prepared for a gas crisis this winter” in Europe, experts say.

Earlier there were reports that none of the emergency power generators in the country are operational. Therefore, it is pointed out that the country has no other option but to cut power consumption or face power cuts in winter.

Don Moore, former managing director of ESB International, said other countries in Europe are busy filling their gas storage during the summer to “even out the peak demand in the winter”. He said there was an opportunity to do the same in Ireland, but “we decided not to exercise that option”.

When the Kinsale gas field was depleted, it could have been used as a store. “Ireland, the country at the end of the European gas grid, is the least prepared for a gas crisis this winter.”

“I would say there’s been a failure in system planning. There’s always been growth in demand for electricity and the population has grown as well. It’s now over 5 million people,” Mr Moore said.

He added: “There is a bigger crisis and it’s about electricity generation in the widest possible sense. We are dependent largely on gas fired generation in Ireland and the crisis this winter, I would say, is more likely to be driven by a shortage of gas.

“We’re importing over 70% of our gas from the UK or through the UK and for some reason, again, this is a failure in planning, we have no gas storage in Ireland.”

Mr Moore’s views, as chair of the Irish Academy of Engineering’s Energy and Climate Action Committee, are timely, given an EU plan to reduce gas use by 15% across the bloc went into force yesterday.

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