Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon, has said that Ireland must meet its renewable energy targets in a manner that is compatible with people’s lives. Deputy Heydon was speaking following the climate talks in Paris this week.

“The climate talks in Paris could help frame our approach to energy usage for the foreseeable future and there is a significant focus at the talks on renewable energy. I firmly believe that renewable energy is the way forward and that Ireland is ideally placed to capitalise on this approach.

“However it is also clear to me that the move to renewable energy in Ireland will not work if we do not bring people and communities along with it. This point is particularly relevant in the case of pylons and wind turbines. Here in Ireland we have particularly high population density in rural areas and a large number of people living in individual holdings in remote rural areas.

“I agree with Minister Alex White when he says that people must feel a part of energy policy and not a victim of it. However, as things stand, our approach to pylons and wind turbines are leaving people feeling like victims because of the proximity of the structures to their homes. People in my constituency of Kildare South have direct first hand experience of this and this cannot continue to be the norm.

“I firmly believe that we need to be flexible in how we implement our approach to renewable energy. What works for one country may not work for another. A one size fits all approach will not succeed.

“Ireland is ideally placed to benefit from offshore wind energy given our location in the north Atlantic. We must explore this potential further but we must also explore the significant potential for solar energy and biomass energy.

“Minister White is due to publish his White Paper on Energy in the coming weeks. I have spoken to him of the need for us to capitalise on our renewable energy capacity – but in a way which is compatible with individuals and communities living in their rural areas.”