Fuels for Ireland Advocates for Greater Government-Industry Collaboration in Ireland’s Energy Transition

Fuels for Ireland Advocates for Greater Government-Industry Collaboration in Ireland’s Energy Transition

By Fuels for Ireland CEO Kevin McPartlan

As the CEO of Fuels for Ireland (FFI), and alongside my members, I recently engaged in a critical dialogue with the Minister for the Environment, Climate & Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, highlighting both progress and challenges in Ireland’s energy transition. Our meeting underscored the urgent need for enhanced collaboration between government and industry to effectively navigate the complexities of the transition.

At the heart of our discussion was the critical need for improved engagement between Government and industry stakeholders in policy development. Despite the Minister’s recent endorsement of the energy industry’s role in driving renewable energy adoption, our experience suggests that government bureaucracy often impedes progress. Fuels for Ireland, representing entities providing 50% of Ireland’s total energy, remains committed to overcoming these obstacles and fostering a collaborative approach to energy transition.

A recurring concern raised during our meeting was the delayed publication of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) targets. Despite assurances from State officials, the targets continue to be released late each year, undermining industry planning and investment efforts. The Minister’s commitment to ensuring earlier confirmation of RTFO changes is appreciated, but decisive action is needed to address this longstanding issue.

Emergency planning

Additionally, we emphasised the need for proactive engagement in emergency planning to safeguard energy security. While the Minister expressed confidence in existing emergency protocols, Fuels for Ireland remains vigilant, advocating for comprehensive review and adaptation to evolving challenges. Our collaborative efforts during the Ukraine crisis underscored the importance of industry-government cooperation in ensuring market stability and security of supply.

On a positive note, progress has been made in areas such as electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and fiscal policies for fuels. Collaborative engagements with State agencies and industry stakeholders have facilitated advancements in EV charging networks, signalling a step towards sustainable transportation solutions. Furthermore, constructive dialogue with the Department of Finance’s team has laid the groundwork for reviewing taxation on liquid fuels, ensuring a balanced approach that supports renewable energy adoption without disproportionately burdening consumers.

Despite these advancements, challenges persist in ensuring equitable access and representation for all stakeholders. The composition of taskforces, such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuels group, requires greater industry involvement to ensure balanced decision-making and effective policy implementation. Fuels for Ireland remains committed to advocating for inclusive participation and transparent policy development processes.

Climate Action Plan

Furthermore, in alignment with the objectives outlined in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan, Fuels for Ireland advocates for policies that accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance energy efficiency. By aligning industry efforts with the ambitious targets set forth in the Climate Action Plan, Ireland can position itself as a leader in sustainable energy innovation and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.

For us it is important to address key challenges in emergency planning, fiscal policies on fuels, and sustainable aviation fuels. We need to set proactive measures to ensure preparedness for potential crises. We are calling for a comprehensive review of fiscal policies related to energy for transport and heating to incentivize the transition to low-carbon liquid fuels without burdening consumers. We also understand and believe in the significant role of biofuels, such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), in reducing carbon emissions in the short to medium term, and advocate for their inclusion as a practical bridge to achieving emission reduction targets.

The recent meeting with the Minister Eamon Ryan served as a platform to celebrate achievements and address lingering challenges in Ireland’s energy transition. While positive strides have been made, there is a pressing need for deeper collaboration between government and industry stakeholders to navigate the complexities of the transition effectively.

By leveraging industry expertise and fostering open dialogue, Ireland can effectively navigate the challenges of the energy transition and ensure a sustainable future for all. Moving forward, FFI urges the Government to prioritise inclusivity and transparency in policy development processes. As CEO of FFI, I remain committed to advocating for policies that facilitate collaboration and drive meaningful progress in Ireland’s energy landscape. But we need to be sitting at the table when decisions are being made and we want to engage in conversations to support the transition.