Energy is essential to meet our most basic needs: cooking, boiling water, lighting and heating. It is also a pre-requisite for good health (World Health Organization).
An adequate reliable energy supply is also needed for many other requirements including communications, security and health services. Therefore energy policy is very important to health.
All energy options have some public health risks, occupational risks and climate risks. In a rapidly changing world, energy developments may be occurring quickly and there can be public concerns, including health concerns, about technologies. In addition, the development of energy projects in a locality may cause disruption and environmental stress. Citizen and community engagement is a necessity. Public participation in environmental decision making is also a requirement of the Aarhus Convention. For more information on the Aarhus Convention and related agreements, click here.
Development of sustainable energy production is required to meet Ireland's transition to a low carbon economy and it also provides an opportunity to reduce the dependence on more polluting energy options.
Although considered minimally harmful in general, in view of some concerns and queries from the public, the Public Health Medicine Environment and Health Group has developed a position paper on Wind Energy.
For more information on the health impacts of various energy choices, see the comparison below, produced by the Healthy Energy Initiative.