Thursday, 7 April 2022
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
109. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which emergency steps can be taken to ensure the provision of locally-based electricity generation to offset growing shortages and increased electricity costs to the consumer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18767/22]
My Department is working closely with the Commission for Regulation of Utilites and EirGrid to support them in monitoring and taking measures necessary to ensure the security of electricity supply. This includes increasing the supply of renewable energy sources, including at local level, in line with the target of up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030. There is an overriding public need to accelerate the delivery of renewable energy projects in the context of energy price increases and energy market volatility resulting from Russia's war on Ukraine. The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is one of the major Government policies to help deliver up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030. The RESS supports communities in a variety of ways including through a separate category for community projects and a community enabling framework to assist development of community projects. The Climate Action Plan includes a target for at least 500MW of renewable electricity to be supplied by local community-based projects; to reach this target, at least 100 community projects will be needed.
In order to ensure such a pipeline of community projects, the SEAI are deploying a range of capacity-building supports including toolkit guides, trusted intermediary and advisory services, for expert financial, grid and planning advice, as well as financial enabling grant supports to aid the development of these projects.
As well as this, Government has recently approved a Microgeneration Support Scheme (MSS) which supports deployment of an expected 380 MW of new micro renewable generation by 2030. In addition, my Department is also working with the SEAI on a policy design for a small-scale generation support scheme for farmers, business, and communities to generate their own electricity and feed into the grid. This is being progressed in 2022 and will become available in 2023.