It will be years before Ireland has enough secure liquid natural gas (LNG) storage, the Minister for the Environment has said.
Eamon Ryan said Ireland needs storage as an extra security layer and a review is under way to come up with real solutions that will give the country greater security in a way that is in the public interest and will not breach climate targets.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the world is moving faster in a greener direction because of the war in Ukraine and Ireland will be at the forefront of this.
The minster also said that the issue around targeting gas prices to protect consumers is “complex”, but progress was made yesterday at an EU meeting.
However, he said, there is still no agreement on whether to cap gas prices.
“That is a very simple concept and very popular … but there are potential consequences that would cost the public more if you get that wrong.”
He said he anticipates that there will be progress within the next week in the market index used to benchmark prices with that being reformed.
He warned, however, it is still not enough as he described a difficult winter ahead.
His comments come as the EU Commission works on a plan to try bring down gas prices.
He said yesterday’s talks highlighted the “unity and further agreement” reached.
Minister Ryan said: “There was a lot of agreement on further measures that we can do. Like common purchasing so we can work collectively, so we don’t outbid each other in trying to buy gas.
“Secondly we will enter into negotiations with the supply countries, the likes of Norway, USA, Algeria to see if there are mechanisms there where we can agree to bring down the price of gas. And also agreement on the real key solution to reduce our use and to switch to renewables.”
He said Europe has managed to increase the storage of gas to about 90% “in a collective way”.
Minister defends credit for holiday home owners
Mr Ryan has defended the energy credit being given to households who also have holiday homes, saying it is about getting money out “quickly and cheaply”.
He said it is “far better” that the Government covers every home as otherwise it would take too long and be more costly.
He said it is the right approach and faster than other mechanisms.
“I think 99.6% of households in our energy credit last spring got that payment and I think they do need it,” he said.
“It is not just those on social welfare who are going to have difficulty with these bills. I think it is appropriate as we don’t know the circumstances in every home.”