The Aarhus Convention explained and why it’s important

The Convention is not aspirational but mandatory. It guarantees persons these rights, establishes minimum standards for the rights, prohibits discrimination against persons exercising the rights, and applies the obligations to all levels and sectors of government — national, regional and local, as well as administrative agencies. Its aim is to help strengthen citizens’ environmental rights through an international legal mechanism.

While many international agreements or treaties become mired in bureaucratic mud, the Aarhus Convention is an ambitious agreement that has been singularly helpful in providing a means of democratic participation in environmental matters, especially when local laws and political will are missing or antagonistic to such matters. As Mary Robinson, when UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said, “The Convention touches on the fundamental issues of democracy and the rights of people to protect their well-being and that of their children. … It is truly a trailblazer.” (more…)

Phone radiation: Scientists appeal to UN to protect against danger of wireless devices [Video]


Nearly 200 scientists submitted an appeal to the United Nations (UN) on Monday (11 May) requesting it to adopt guidelines to protect against the electromagnetic radiation that emit from cell phones, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices.

“They are damaging the living cells in our bodies and killing many of us prematurely,” said Martin Blank, a retired special lecturer in the effects of electromagnetic radiation on cells at Columbia University Medical Center.

“Cell towers are blanketing our neighbourhoods with radiation. It’s particularly frightening that radiation from our telecommunication and power line technology is damaging the DNA in our cells. It is clear to many biologists that this can account for the rising cancer rates.”

Click here to read the full article and watch the video

Irish Wind Policy – Time to Rethink: Presentation by Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown, BW Energy (May 2015)

Executive Summary: Biomass can deliver Irish targets more effectively than wind

– Ireland has an ‘all wind’ strategy to meet EU 2020 renewable ‘green’ power targets.

– Requires doubling of current 200 wind farms (2,000 turbines) and over 700 km of high voltage transmission lines carried by industrial scale pylons in the countryside

– Doubling wind power directly threatens vital Irish heartland industries – tourism and equine.

– It is technically difficult, outdated and unnecessarily expensive.

– Fortunately technology today offers better solutions.

– Conversion of coal fired Moneypoint and peat power stations to sustainable biomass – re-engineering existing plant – is cheaper, requires no change to transmission infrastructure and no new power stations.

Click here to read the full report: BW Energy – Irish Wind Policy – Time to Rethink – May 2015

Tesla Powerwall could transform the energy grid: The Irish Times, 11 May 2015

The concept is simple – the seven or 10kWh Powerwall for $3,500 or the 100kWh Powerpack for $25,000 are wall-mounted batteries that store energy, whether generated onsite through solar panels or wind turbines, say, or stored at off-peak times for use during peak hours.

Naam suggests: “Storage of electricity in large quantities is reaching an inflection point, poised to give a big boost to renewables, to disrupt business models across the electrical industry, and to tap into a market that will eventually top many of tens of billions of dollars per year, and trillions of dollars cumulatively over the coming decades.”

Click here to read the full article

Striking a Blow…Mum Battles Rural Wind Turbine Plan: Irish Mirror, 9 May 2015

A mum has told how she travel the length and breadth of Ireland in a bid to stop giant wind turbines and ugly power lines being built in the countryside.

Former tourism worker Paula Byrne has joined the Irish Mirror’s drive to save our rural areas.

The determined campaigner for Wind Aware Ireland is demanding a halt to the electricity generating power projects before it’s too late.

Click below to read the full article.

Irish Mirror, 9 May 2015

SAVE THE DATE: Hear the arguments, get informed and make up your own mind: Wednesday 13 May 2015 at 20:00

The Government’s plan is to spend €4 billion building a power infrastructure no one wants, for a wind industry no one needs.

By converting Moneypoint power station from coal to Biomass (wood pellets), we immediately achieve our 2020 Renewable targets.

The obvious choice should be sustainable Biomass, shouldn’t it?

Hear the arguments, get informed and make up your own mind first.

Come along to Lawlors Hotel on Wednesday 13 May @ 8pm to hear a 45 minute presentation given by Malcolm Brown from BW Energy, one of the leading experts in the international energy sector.

Cost Benefit Analysis obligations for Ireland’s Renewable Action Plan – Part Two by Pat Swords

What has been the benefit to date from our expenditure?

Ireland’s Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) was prepared in 2010 without any proper assessment of costs and impacts. Table 10 of the NREAP provides us with the bottom line on electricity generation, namely by 2020 the installation of 4,094 MW of onshore wind and 555 MW of offshore wind. For wind energy installed in Ireland, where project costs are higher than elsewhere, approximately €2 million per MW is the installed cost for onshore installations and at least €3 million per MW for offshore installations. This then gives a total cost for installed wind energy of almost €10 billion.

Click here to read the full article

By Pat Swords BE CEng FIChemE CEnv MIEMA

SAVE THE DATE: EirGrid Regional Seminars hosted by Irish Rural Link