Environmentalists warn that the construction of new gas terminals would mean higher energy bills for households in the long term


Building liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals in response to the energy crisis would risk even higher prices for customers in the long run, TDs and senators warn.

Submissions to the Committee on the Environment and Climate Protection state that massive construction and operating costs would be passed on to households by private operators.

Any government entity would face similar problems and would need a subsidy or levy funded by ordinary bill payers.

The warnings from campaign groups Global Witness and Friends of the Earth are appeals to the government not to back down on its commitments to phase out fossil fuels in a knee-jerk response to the current difficulties.

The US President has pledged to supply Europe with more LNG to reduce its dependence on Russia. However, much US gas is produced through “fracking,” a process that environmentalists have blamed for environmental damage.

Tara Connolly of Global Witness said in her contribution that Europe has enough LNG terminals and it would take years to build one in Ireland.

“Given the useful life of an LNG terminal of 30 to 40 years, it is conceivable that Irish gas customers or taxpayers will still be paying for the LNG terminal in 2062,” she said.

This would be 12 years after the point at which Ireland committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

Friends of the Earth’s Jerry MacEvilly stressed that this pledge is legally binding under the climate law passed last year.

The submissions will be discussed this morning at the third in a series of meetings held by the Costs and Energy Supply Committee.

The environment ministry began reviewing energy security ahead of the current crisis, and campaigners fear its findings will be overly influenced by the immediate difficulties.

Lobbying to lift a ban on new gas and oil exploration and a moratorium on LNG infrastructure has intensified.

A private company is awaiting a decision on its planning application for a €650m LNG terminal at Ballylongford in the Shannon Estuary, which the government, despite policies directed against such infrastructure, is unable to block.

Mr MacEvilly said it was important that governments “avoid false solutions that would serve to increase long-term dependence on fossil fuels”.

“It is important that the energy security review actively integrates climate targets,” he said.

“Any consideration of energy infrastructure must begin with how it will support the decarbonisation of Ireland’s energy system in accordance with the urgency and scope of the targets that we have now enshrined in national law.” Environmentalists warn that the construction of new gas terminals would mean higher energy bills for households in the long term

Fry Electronics Team

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