Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Michelle Mulherin (Mayo, Fine Gael)
Question 415: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of micro-generators that have been connected through ESB Electric Ireland; if targets for microgeneration are on course to be achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9468/12]
Pat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)
The latest figures from ESB Networks are that they have 588 import/export meters installed. These are required for microgeneration. Electric Ireland has advised that they have 448 customers in receipt of payments under their domestic microgeneration scheme.
Ireland has a legally binding renewable energy target of 16% under Directive 2009/28/EC. In our National Renewable Energy Action Plan, we have set out that the target will be achieved through 40% renewables in the electricity sector, 10% in the transport sector and 12% in the heating sector.
At the end of 2010, 5.5% of our energy consumed in Ireland was from renewable sources. This was made up of 14.8% in the electricity sector, 4.4% in heating and 2.4% in transport. A significant increase is required in all sectors to ensure we achieve our legally binding target. EirGrid estimates that in 2011 between 18% and 19% of our electricity fuel mix was from renewable sources.
Currently there are no specific sub-targets for the microgeneration sector or any other individual technologies. The Programme for Government commits to the provision of a feed in tariff for micro-generators producing electricity for their own homes, farms and businesses and selling surplus electricity to the grid. The programme also states that the tariff will not be significantly above the single energy market price for electricity. The Electric Ireland scheme currently operates at a rate of 19 cent per kilowatt hour for their customers, which is well above the wholesale rate of around 7 cent per kilowatt hour. No other electricity supply company has introduced a micro generation scheme.
Any increased electricity costs arising from extending such a scheme to PSO supports would have to be borne by all electricity consumers to fund it and typically microgeneration tends to require much higher tariffs than large scale generation.