On Wednesday morning the rain came down in sheets. The grounds team used thermal heaters to dry the pitch of the Aviva in Dublin prior to a brutal Ireland and All Blacks clash. Upstairs some 200+ expectant people gathered for the first large scale solar PV conference in Ireland.
Presentations and conversations over coffee told a story of potential. Some 4GW are in stages of planning or consented. 2GW may be truly viable. As one attendee keenly showed me on his phone, it is already common to see Eirgrid facilitating up to 39% renewable power on their distribution network.
As ever, subsidy would quicken the pace. Something similar to phased rounds of CfD similar to the UK was widely accepted as a sensible approach. Onshore wind has had something of a community relations stutter of late. This may help crystalise support for solar as a critical component in any secure energy mix.
As the industry reacts it must be mature beyond its years. A cynical race to max out the market will not be well regarded by communities or politicians. Clear, simple messaging and sincere stakeholder engagement will be critical to retain long term support. In the first instance, all tiers and segments of the stakeholder matrix will need education. They will not expect the industry to be a panacea for all ails but they will absolutely expect to be accorded the respect they deserve.
We’re proud to be collaborating with the ISEA and other industry representatives to help ensure that stakeholder engagement lessons are shared and considered.
On Saturday the Aviva was filled with 52,000 fans and one of the greatest sporting spectacles of the winter. There were some questionable tackles. But the sun came out.