Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
165. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the procedures for setting grid connection costs and the estimation of needed strengthening of the grid to accommodate renewable power sources have been reviewed to ensure that they are similar to those applying for renewables in other European countries and are supportive of the rapid growth of renewable sources of power in Ireland. [21355/21]
The energy sector in Ireland faces a collective challenge to decarbonise our electricity system against a backdrop of significant electrification of the heat and transport sectors contributing to rapidly increasing demand.
Grid connections costs are a matter, in the first instance, for the electricity system operators, EirGrid and ESB Networks, who must balance demand with grid availability and constraints, along with security of supply considerations. EirGrid and ESB Networks are regulated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which also has responsibility for the setting of grid connection policy.
The principle applied by the CRU in this regard is cost appropriateness, which means the generator pays their costs to connect to the network. The approach to grid connection costs may vary in other European countries but usually depends on a number of factors, including generation mix along with the resilience and interconnection of electricity networks.
As regulator, the CRU reviews the procedures for setting grid connection costs and reviews the costs that the system operators apply for strengthening the grid. As part of the CRU's recent Price Review 5 decision which covers the system operators' costs for the next five years, a total of €4bn has been committed to capital expenditure for EirGrid and ESB Networks. This will enable the system operators to strengthen the grid and ensure that the grid can accommodate increasing levels of renewable power in line with the commitments in the Climate Action Plan to have 70% renewable electricity on the system by 2030.
EirGrid is currently undertaking a “Shaping our Electricity Future” consultation across the three dimensions of electricity networks, power system operation, and electricity markets with the aim of developing an integrated all-island vision of the 2030 power system and electricity market.