Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Alternative Energy Projects

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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461. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding microgeneration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46985/14]

Photo of Alex WhiteAlex White (Dublin South, Labour)
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While the matter raised by the Deputy in not one in which I, as Minister, have any statutory function, I am aware that Electric Ireland recently decided to close its scheme which had offered a micro-generation feed-in tariff since February 2009. No other electricity supplier had chosen to provide such a tariff, to either domestic or commercial customers, though they had been invited to do so by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). The CER is the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the electricity and gas markets.

While Section 10A of the Electricity Regulation Act 1999, as amended, provides that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources may give “general policy directions” from time to time, the Minister is expressly precluded from giving any policy direction in respect of any individual undertaking or person.

I am aware of the need to give further policy consideration to the place of microgeneration in our energy mix. Analysis of the potential of micro-generation technologies such as small scale wind, solar and small scale hydro, has been carried out for my Department by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It shows that while microgeneration has the technical potential to make a significant contribution to Irish electricity consumption, careful consideration would have to be given to the design of any potential future support scheme to ensure it is cost-effective. The SEAI's findings, along with responses to the recent consultation on the Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland, will inform future policy on the provision of any market support for micro-generation.


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