Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
194. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the export of surplus power to the national grid by members of the farming community in view of the number of farmers that are now developing on-farm solar PV for their farm enterprises under the TAMS 2 scheme which is operated by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and that may have surplus power which can be exported to the national grid. [46727/19]
The Climate Action Plan sets out the comprehensive list of actions that will ensure we meet our 2030 climate commitments putting us on a trajectory to be net zero by 2050. One of the Plan deliverables will be the development of a support policy for micro-generation, which will provide a pathway to the public to participate in and benefit from this transition. Action 30 of the Plan sets out the steps necessary and timelines for the delivery of an enabling framework for micro-generation by June 2021. A Microgeneration working group has been established with the participation of the Department of Agriculture and consideration of the work programme is underway. The Group will assess possible mechanisms for payment of exported electricity by renewable self-consumers for each market segment including agriculture.
In July 2018 my Department launched a new micro-generation grant scheme to support domestic customers who install solar photovoltaic panels in their homes. The pilot scheme, which is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, was subject to a review in recent months. The SEAI indicate that of the 2,500 applications made to date, over 1,400 successful installations have been completed to a value in excess of €3 million in funding. Additionally, 28 farms have applied for support from the TAMS scheme for Solar PV installations.
The Smart Meter Upgrade is a meter replacement programme which will result in the upgrade of over 2 million meters to modern, smart-ready technology. When the programme completes in Ireland in 2024, all domestic and business premises will have a new modern meter installed. The upgrade to smart meters will encourage energy efficiency, support an increase in renewable power on the energy system, and result in lower overall costs for consumers. The installation of smart meters is a key enabler for the energy transition to a decarbonised system and will support the market for micro-generation as outlined in the Government's Climate Action Plan.