Is the writing on the wall for the NREAP?

Dec we have a problem

Largely as a result of the ongoing and sterling efforts of Pat Swords, the Irish Government is now under considerable pressure to explain why it did not bother to consult with the public prior to publishing its National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP).

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In a letter dated 14 October 2015 to Declan Kelleher, the Irish ambassador to the EU, the EU Commission noted that the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC) had found that the EU had failed to follow the provisions of the Aarhus Convention in connection with the Irish National Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Letter to Ireland-1

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The ACCC found (case ACCC/C/2010/541) that the EU Commission had failed to comply with the public participation obligations (Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention) because it did not have in place and did not properly enforce a regulatory framework and/or clear instructions with respect to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans.

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In short, at the beginning of the new century, the Irish public were kept in the dark about the NREAP and most people only became aware of its existence when we started to investigate EirGrid and its Grid 25 programme. This cloak-and-dagger operation was in direct contravention of the Aarhus Convention, particularly as the NREAP was set to dictate this country’s energy policy until 2020.

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The letter to Ambassador Kelleher states:.

“For the purpose of this reporting exercise, I would like to ask you to include, in the next national progress report to be submitted by 31 December 20152, a detailed description of and reference to the measures and procedures in force that ensure public participation in the decision-making process in accordance with the requirements of Article 6, paragraphs 3, 4 and 8, of the Convention referred to in Article 7, including reasonable time frames, allowing sufficient time for informing the public and for the public to prepare and participate effectively, allowing for early public participation when all options are open, and ensuring that due account is taken of the outcome of the public participation related to plans adopted under directive 2009/28/EC relating to the environment. These public participation measures and procedures are also applicable to any amendment of the NREAP, if any, as provided for by Article 4(4) of the Renewable Energy Directive.”

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I would guess that Ambassador Kelleher is not enjoying a good quality of sleep at the moment. He and Alex White must be keeping each other up all hours of the night.

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from practice in 2002 to take up a full-time lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). He is an accredited and practising mediator and is busy writing a book, with Dr Sinead Conneely, on Mediation in Ireland. His current interest is Ireland’s energy policy and its impact on the people and the environment. He is also researching the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
This entry was posted in NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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