Plans to make Limerick city 'carbon neutral' are welcomed

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Cllr John Gilligan wants the city to be carbon neutral

Cllr John Gilligan wants the city to be carbon neutral

A FORMER Mayor of Limerick is calling on the local authority to do more to ensure it can be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2020.

Cllr John Gilligan made his comments after members of the Environment SPC were briefed on the National Mitigation Plan by Pat Stephens of the Limerick and Clare Energy Agency.

“We should be carbon neutral by 2020,” he said suggesting that more should be done to harness power from wind turbines and from the river Shannon and other rivers in Limerick.

Mr Stephens told the meeting that the Dail voted in October of last year to pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C and that the Climate Action & Low Carbon Development Act was subsequently enacted by Minister Denis Naughten.

Welcoming the presentation, Cllr Eddie Ryan noted the council does not have a policy relating to wind energy which, he said, has the potential to generate large amounts of electricity. 

“120 turbines could power all of Limerick,” he suggested.

Mr Stephens said local authorities have been directed by government not to draw up local guidelines relating to wind energy pending the finalisation of national guidelines over the coming months.

Highlighting the use of solar panels at several council properties, he said Limerick City and County Council is one of the more carbon-friendly councils in the country.

Solar panels, he said, provide around 20 per cent of the energy needs of County Hall in Dooradoyle.

The roll-out of the cycle-lane between Corbally and UL by Limerick Smarter Travel has had an impact on Limerick city’s carbon footprint and Mr Stpehens confirmed that funding is being sought from the EU to assist in making the city ‘carbon neutral”.

In addition, he said discussions have taken place between several agencies and organisations, including the University of Limerick, with a view to establishing a Centre of Excellence for Marine Energy in Limerick.

The concept of “energy citizenship” was also discussed with Mr Stephens pointing out that it has worked well in other countries.

One element of this, he said, is enabling people and communities to sell excess energy to the national grid – therefore reducing the need for large power stations.