DUBLIN, Ireland, May 12 (UPI) -- Ireland aims to move energy efficiency and renewable energy to the forefront of an economy that depends on imported fossil fuels, the energy minister said.
"A progressive energy agenda is needed," Irish Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte said in a statement. "We are embarking on a new avenue of ending our energy island isolation, reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and strengthening our leadership position in niche areas of energy technology expertise."
Rabbitte published an energy policy "green paper" Monday that makes the case for a transition to indigenous forms of low-carbon energy.
Ireland since 2003 has installed approximately 150 wind farms with a total electricity capacity of 1,738 megawatts. The government has said there might be enough wind energy on the electrical grid to meet 40 percent of the country's annual energy needs by 2020.
Rabbitte said sustainability, security and competition will be the cornerstones of a new energy policy meant to respond to the energy price impact of the North American shale boom and mounting concerns over the climate impacts of fossil fuels.
"Economic development and low-carbon transition are not mutually exclusive and can be progressed in parallel, provided we advance on an informed and sensible course," he said.