Government sets out strategy to deal with future energy price shocks

National energy security framework puts key focus on enhancing affordability

The Government has reviewed energy security issues facing the State, and drawn up a strategy to address potential future price shocks arising from the Ukraine war.

Thenational energy security framework(NESF), which was released following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, sets out a "whole-of-Government" response to energy security with a key focus on enhancing affordability. It includes new supports for households and businesses in reducing energy costs, while endorsing enhanced energy efficiency and speeding up the introduction of "indigenous renewable energy systems".

It does not come to a position on liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure. In May 2021, the Government approved and published a policy statement on importation of fracked gas.

"Pending the outcome of the review of the security of energy supply of Ireland's electricity and natural gas systems, it would not be appropriate for the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or proceeded with," said a spokeswomen for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC). The review is to be completed later this year.


Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, who has responsibility for energy, said the NESF was a comprehensive response to the emerging and developing impacts on Ireland's energy system caused by the war.

“The war in Ukraine also underpins how important it is that we switch at speed and at scale to our own indigenous renewable energy sources,” he added.

Emergency group

A new energy security emergency group will co-ordinate and oversee Ireland’s response to current challenges under the auspices of DECC.

There are structures in place to deal with emergency situations, to manage supplies of electricity, gas and oil in the short term. The Government is reviewing and testing emergency plans for oil, gas and electricity. It is also implementing a programme of work set out by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to ensure security of electricity supply – and preparing the electricity system for potential disruptions to natural gas supplies and managing potential impacts on electricity consumers.

Over the longer term, ensuring the security of Ireland’s energy supply means reducing Ireland’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. “This is in the context of the EU phasing out its dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports as soon as possible,” the NESF says.

Over the longer term, the Government’s commitment to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels “will benefit everyone in our energy bills, nationally in our energy security, and globally in our climate ambitions”, it says.

The NESF commits to providing greater regulatory certainty, including time frames, with decarbonised energy generation “through clearly articulated, formal Government policy on relevant aspects of energy supply” and by ensuring the local planning policy framework fully supports national objectives.

It also backs establishing a specific division of the High Court to deal with planning and environment cases as expeditiously as possible.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times