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Building new gas terminals would cost householders more in energy bills long term, environmentalists warn

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Building new gas terminals would cost householders more in energy bills long term, environmentalists warn

March 29
15:00 2022
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Buliding import terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a response to the energy crisis would risk even higher prices for customers in the long term, TDs and senators have been warned.

Submissions to the Committee on the Environment and Climate Action say massive construction and running costs would be passed on to householders by private operators.

Any state-owned facility would face similar problems and need subsidies or levies funded by ordinary billpayers.

The warnings, by campaign groups Global Witness and Friends of the Earth, come in appeals to the Government not to backtrack on pledges to end fossil fuel use as a knee-jerk reaction to the current difficulties.

US president has pledged to supply Europe with more LNG to reduce its dependence on Russia. However, much US gas is extracted through ‘fracking’, a process blamed by environmentalists for environmental damage.

Tara Connolly of Global Witness said in her submission Europe had enough LNG terminals and building one in Ireland would take years.

“Given the useful lifespan of an LNG terminal is 30-40 years, it is feasible that Irish gas customers or taxpayers could still be paying for the LNG terminal in 2062,” she said.

This would be 12 years past the point by which Ireland had pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Jerry MacEvilly of Friends of the Earth stressed that this pledge was legally binding under the Climate Act passed last year.

The submissions will be discussed this morning in the third in a series of meetings the committee has been holding on the cost and supply of energy.

The Department of Environment began review of energy security before the current crisis and campaigners fear its findings will be unduly influenced by the immediate difficulties.

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

A private company is waiting for a decision on its planning application for a €650 million LNG terminal at Ballylongford in the Shannon Estuary which the Government has said it can not block despite having a policy opposed to such infrastructure.

Mr MacEvilly said it was important the Governments “avoids false solutions which would serve to increase long-term fossil fuel dependency”.

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

“Any consideration of energy infrastructure, must start with the question as to how it will support the decarbonisation of Ireland’s energy system, in accordance with the urgency and scale of the targets we have now enshrined in national law.”



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