Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Citizen and Community Measures: Discussion
Both Dr. McGowan and Mr. Melvin appeared before this committee at the beginning of April to speak on the Mayo renewable energy plant that was seeking a high-efficiency certificate from the commission in order to operate. It ran into difficulty and on that occasion its representatives highlighted many difficulties in dealing with the commission. I, along with the rest of the committee, hoped that on that occasion communication had begun to flow between the commission, the representatives of the plant and the committee. We were assured the commission would accept a fresh application and that it would be dealt with expeditiously because the commission was familiar with the file. I understand the Mayo power company applied a few weeks after that meeting and the application is ongoing. To say that the applicant is frustrated is an understatement.
I am very disappointed. I have spoken of this in the Seanad and I ask the witnesses today, in the interests of transparency, to make a statement on what is happening. This committee was solely set up with the idea of achieving our climate action objectives and part of this relates to renewable electricity. We are trying to displace Bord na Móna and peat burning and this is a high-efficiency combined heat and power biomass plant that fits the bill of helping us meet our targets. We are asking private investors to fund these renewable electricity projects in every case, aside from State companies. It is very hard to see how they can do business with the length of time it is taking the commission to deal such applications. I say this while considering the commitments given to the committee by the witnesses on the previous appearance before the committee which have not been met.