Call to review use of imported gas
Ireland must urgently review its dependency on imported natural gas as a spike in demand caused by earthquake-hit Japan could push up electricity prices at home, environmental body An Taisce said.
The organisation warned Japan was turning to Russia for urgent supplies of gas in the wake of its nuclear crisis, potentially driving up the price of the fuel being pumped into Europe.
The National Trust said that as Ireland imports 92% of the gas needed to generate its electricity, household electric bills could rise beyond the control of the Government or the Commission for Energy Regulation.
Elizabeth Muldowney, An Taisce national energy officer, said: "The tremors of this quake will continue to be felt worldwide.
"The new Government must urgently review Ireland's dependency on imported natural gas for electricity generation - whether it be by pipeline or in its liquefied form (LNG) - with a view to developing an exit strategy that will release us from an ever-tightening noose around our energy-using necks."
An Taisce warned the increase in demand for gas would not be an isolated spike, but a steady climbing curve over the next decade.
"Integrated policy development with planning and environmental policy along with renewable energy development must be a priority," Ms Muldowney said.
"Without this our exposure to natural and man-made disasters on a global level, such as the Japanese catastrophe or the middle eastern turmoil, will cripple the competitiveness of our export sector and result in dangerous and needless delays in our national economic recovery and long-term sustainability."