Tuesday, 20 September 2022
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
72. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he can clarify the policy in relation to building a liquefied natural gas terminal in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45744/22]
The Policy Statement on importing fracked gas was approved by Government and published in May 2021. The policy statement provides that, pending the outcome of the review of the energy security of Ireland’s gas and electricity systems, it would not be appropriate for the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or proceeded with. As set out in the National Energy Security Framework, which was published in April 2022, a review of the energy security of Ireland’s gas and electricity systems is being carried out by my Department, following which the results will be submitted to Government. This review is focussed on the period to 2030 and will examine the risks to security of supply and a range of potential mitigating options. The review process includes a technical analysis which will help inform a public consultation. The technical analysis includes identification and examination of the key risks to the security of supply in the electricity and natural gas systems; identification of options that could address or mitigate these risks in the period to 2030; and appraisal of these options in the context of ensuring a sustainable pathway to 2050. The underlying technical analysis has been updated to take into account the war in Ukraine.
My Department is carrying our a public consultation as part of the review and I would encourage all interested parties to submit their views in this consultation.
73. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans regarding supports for SMEs that are seeking to significantly reduce energy consumption; if any capital grant funding proposals for permanent alterations to premises are under review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44622/22]
Commitments under the Climate Action Plan and the National Energy Security Framework (NESF) specifically target the need to develop an approach to the retrofit of the commercial building stock and work is already underway in developing a commercial retrofit support scheme for high impact measures, specifically aimed at SMEs. In that context, at a European level, proposed revisions to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) are under negotiation and will be relevant in the development of the final scheme. A fundamental objective of the scheme under development will be to establish practical engagement and to eliminate the potential fallow periods that appear between the education (SEAI Energy Academy), analysis and auditing delivered through the SEAI, and the actual investment in retrofit works. The key aim of the scheme will be to work in combination with the existing SEAI Business Supports programmes to provide:
A clear and tailored pathway for SMEs to support retrofit activity;
Further technical support to facilitate a bespoke retrofit plan for their buildings;
Targeted capital support for existing buildings to reduce energy demand; and
Targeted capital support for retrofit measures.
It is intended that the scheme will commence in 2023.
74. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will provide an update on the hydrogen strategy for Ireland and the role that green hydrogen will play as a fuel for power generation, manufacturing, energy storage and transport. [45778/22]
119. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to develop green hydrogen storage facilities and infrastructure to support the green hydrogen economy in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45765/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 119 together.7
Green hydrogen has the potential to support decarbonisation in “difficult-to-decarbonise” sectors where energy efficiency and electrification are not feasible solutions. For example, in heavy transport for goods vehicles, or maritime and aviation craft, or as a source for high-temperature heat in industry. Hydrogen storage could also have a significant role to play in power generation as a form of long-term electricity storage, where hydrogen would be used as a backup to renewables to generate electricity during periods of low renewable availability.
On 12 July, my Department launched a public consultation to gather the views of stakeholders and interested parties in order to inform the development of a hydrogen strategy for Ireland.
The consultation paper set out various areas of interest to be considered in the development of the hydrogen strategy and invited stakeholders’ responses on specific questions to be answered in this regard. Stakeholder views were sought on the broad landscape of potential hydrogen supply, infrastructure, storage, and demand in Ireland, as well as the potential export opportunities for hydrogen. Among the issues addressed was the question of storage and responses were invited on a range of questions as to how Ireland might best develop hydrogen storage capacity.
The consultation ran for an 8-week response period, which concluded on Friday 2nd September, following which analysis of the responses received and preparation of the strategy document has begun, with a view to publication of the strategy before year-end.