The CER has recently closed public consultations on how to apportion the €50 million annual fixed running cost of the gas interconnector pipeline from Great Britain. By landing gas itself on the Shannon, Hess claims it is not subject to the tarrif and threatened legal action‘.
Submissions to the CER by major Irish Energy players have highlighted a 'loophole' by which Irish energy suppliers will have to pay for the new interconnector with the UK while the foreign operators of the Shannon LNG will be exempt.
Safety Before LNG and Friends of the Irish Environment took an unsuccessful Judicial Review of the failure to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment encompassing the proposal. The short cutting that took place in the approval process will ironically be the cause of its collapse if the Hess LNG business model is successfully opposed by the CER.
To now waive a levy of up to 22.5 million euro annually as proposed by Minister Jimmy Deenihan at the consumer's expense would amount to state aid for Hess LNG and discourage further investment in alternatives to fossil fuels.
Safety is not defined in any legislation regulating safety in Ireland. Safety is therefore ‘given its ordinary meaning, and dictionary definitions generally define safety as the absence of danger' [CER].
In the case of the nuclear energy, the only way to ensure the absence of danger is not to proceed, the course that Ireland is wisely pursuing.
Unfortunately, fracking danger will come under the ALARP standard of danger - As Low As Reasonably Practical. Legal interpretations of ALARP require a gross disproportion between the risk and the ‘scale of sacrifice' required to avert that risk (with the risk being the greater) to trigger expensive safeguards.
Because fracking uses many small ‘pods' containing multiple drilling rigs, the scale of sacrifice by the developers will be weighed against a relatively limited risk in each case - compared, for example, to BP's Deepwater Horizon. This problem supports the call for a national debate to frame the overall issue of fracking in Ireland.
The CER Document is available from their website for comment by 27 September. An underlying critical issue raised is if there is to be public access to agreements between the CER and other agencies - the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Safety Authority, to name just two - as well as their incident reports to the Minister.
Friends of the Irish Environment
Relocating the first proposed Irish Liquid Natural Gas [LNG] terminal from the Shannon to near the Kinsale Gas field must be considered, FIE has told the Planning Appeals Board. The European Seveso Directive requires safety distances that are greater than that provided from nearby centres of populations on the Shannon.
Further, the existing gas pipeline from the Kinsale field to Inch could be used, eliminating entirely the need for the proposed new 25 kilometer pipeline required at the Shannon location.
Storage could also be provided at the Kinsale field which would mean LNG could be used provide at least a quarter of national gas demand or be sufficient entirely for the Cork area.
Consideration in the EIS of off shore sites did not include the Kinsale gas field first suggested by scientists at the International Conference of Renewable Energy in Maritime Island Climate in Dublin in 2006.
Oral Hearing Announced: 21 January 2008, Tralee, Co. Kerry
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