Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Alternative Energy Projects
Question 32: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the percentage of renewable biomass that should be burnt by an incineration plant in order for that plant to be considered fully renewable and qualify for priority dispatch alongside fully renewable plant such as wind; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44987/10]
Under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) renewable electricity generation, including that from biomass, is required to be granted priority access to the grid. The definition of biomass in this context is "the biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues from biological origin from agriculture (including vegetable and animal substances), forestry and related industries including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste".
The biodegradable fraction of waste therefore is classified as biomass, and electricity generated from this qualifies as renewable energy. However, waste to energy plants generally accept a mixed waste stream, with biomass and non biomass material distributed throughout, so only a proportion of the generation is renewable. Transparent and objective qualifying criteria for priority dispatch are therefore required for all market operators. These criteria would also apply to any other generation plant with a mixed fuel supply, including any peat generation station co-firing with biomass.
The qualifying criteria for multi-fuel or hybrid electricity generation are under consideration by my Department in the context of the transposition of the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive. My Department has been in discussions with the Commission for Energy Regulation, the Transmission System Operator (EirGrid), the European Commission and with other EU Member States, with a view to establishing a system for determining the dispatch status of hybrid plants. There are currently 3 Waste to Energy Plants either in planning or in construction, with the first likely to begin production in late 2011.