Dáil debates

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

6:00 pm

Photo of Jimmy DeenihanJimmy Deenihan (Kerry North, Fine Gael)

I compliment Deputy Coveney on tabling this motion and on his work in this area. He is to the forefront as an expert in this regard.

I am delighted that the Minister signed a foreshore licence for the Shannon LNG project today. I welcome this sincerely. As he knows, the project was announced in May 2006 and will provide liquid natural gas at the Tarbert-Ballylongford landbank. In September 2007, the company applied for planning permission for a terminal. Its application was lodged with An Bord Pleanála and fast-tracked and planning permission was granted in March 2008. In April 2008, an application was made for a foreshore licence, but its granting took almost two years. It was a slow process. I hope that the granting of further foreshore licences will not take as long, as this project was held up for almost two years. However, I welcome the fact that it has been delivered today.

I wish to raise a few issues with the Minister. Shannon LNG got planning permission to provide a pipe from Foynes to the landbank. At the same time, Bord Gáis is considering another pipe to service Endesa, which is converting the Tarbert oil-burning station into a gas-fired station. It is ridiculous that two pipes would be provided to the same area. Will the Minister knock heads together and get people to agree on a single pipe?

Shannon LNG applied to the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, in September 2008 for an exemption from third party use of the terminal. The CER published a consultative document and I understand that the exemption has been granted. It is a welcome departure. Shannon LNG would not normally have constructed a pipeline until the terminal was close to completion, but it is important to point out that, subject to certain undertakings, it has offered to build a pipeline early to accommodate any third party's requirements. It is prepared to build a pipeline to accommodate Endesa provided it receives certain assurances.

It is important that an assurance to the effect that if the project does not proceed - which is highly unlikely - the company will be compensated in respect of its investment. It would be easy to provide such an assurance. If the pipeline is provided, not only will it service the operations of Endesa on Tarbet Island, it will also service Listowel and Tralee. It will also lead to gas being brought into County Kerry for the first time. As far as I am aware, Kerry is one of the only counties - Donegal is another - to which gas is not provided. The county is at a considerable disadvantage as a result. An opportunity exists in this regard. I thank Endesa and Shannon LNG for initiating this exciting project.

An extremely interesting document on microgeneration was published in the UK recently. The document in question refers to the use of feed-in tariffs, with which the Minister is probably familiar, to encourage small-scale, low-carbon generation. It is expected that the scheme in the UK will, by 2020, support over 750,000 small-scale, low-carbon electricity installations and will have saved 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. What is happening in the UK in respect of feed-in tariffs could be replicated in Ireland in the immediate future.


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