Written Answers. - Climate Convention Commitment.

Seán Haughey

Question:

222 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications the steps, if any, the Government is taking to increase investment in renewable energy, energy conservation and public transport in view of Ireland's commitment in the 1992 Climate Convention to seek ways to minimise our greenhouse gas emission; the effects, if any, these steps will have on Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8522/96]

Séamus Hughes

Question:

223 Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications in view of Ireland's commitment in the 1992 Climate Convention to seek ways to minimise our greenhouse gas emission, the steps, if any, the Government is taking to increase investment in renewable energy, energy conservation and public transport; and the effects, if any, these steps will have on Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions. [8527/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 and 223 together.

The European Union has adopted the objective of stabilising CO2 emissions in the Union as a whole at 1990 levels by the year 2000. Ireland's national CO2 abatement strategy was formulated in 1993 with the objective of limiting the increase in CO2 emissions to 20 per cent over 1990 levels by 2000. This strategy was designed around targets and measures which will accommodate necessary economic growth in addition to contributing to the stabilisation of community CO2 emissions. Measures in the areas of transport and energy policy will contribute to the realisation of these objectives.

The Operational Programme for Transport 1994-99 includes provision for substantial EU assisted investments in the main line railway network and public transport services in the greater Dublin area.
Total investment in the mainline rail-work will amount to £275 million in the period. This investment, which will be focused on track renewal, modern signalling systems and rolling stock, will encourage greater use of the railways for passenger and freight traffic, particularly longer-distance passenger journeys and the transport of freight which is unsuitable for transport by road.
An investment of £295 million will enable substantial progress to be made on implementation of the public transport elements of the Dublin Transportation Initiative (DTI) including the introduction of a light rail network and quality bus corridors. Implementation of the DTI strategy will result in a significant shift from private to public transport and produce positive environmental effects.
I launched a major strategy for the further development of the renewable energy sector last week, and a copy of that strategy is available in the Oireachtas Library. In broad outline, the elements of my strategy are: (a) the commissioning, completion and publication of a study into the total renewable energy resource in Ireland; (b) the establishment of a working group on grid connection issues; (c) the establishment of a renewable energy information office; (d) the securing, by the end of 1999, of electricity supply from an additional 100MW of installed capacity using renewable energy sources, through competitions — European Regional Development Fund support of up to £6.5 million from the economic infrastructure operational programme to be provided: (e) the drawing up, in consultation with the Power Procurer and the ESB, of a scheme to cater for the development of small scale renewable energy based electricity generating projects; (f) the provision of European Regional Development Fund grant support from the economic infrastructure operational programme of up of £1 million for the building, by the end of 1999, of a pilot wave energy electricity generating plant; (g) allowing third party access to the electricity network for renewable generators who wish to sell green electricity directly to electricity consumers; (h) guaranteeing electricity market access for EU Thermie funded renewable energy projects; (i) setting targets for the future generation of electricity from renewable energy for the 2000-2010 period; (j) the pursuit of further fiscal measures to support renewable energy development in the context of the greening of the 1997 budget.
Under the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme 1994-1999, I have established the Irish Energy Centre to co-ordinate and implement a series of energy efficiency and conservation initiatives (Question No. 5, Vol. 462 of 5 March 1996 Dáil Official Report). The sum of £21 million is available to the Irish Energy Centre for these initiatives over the period of the operational programme. These initiatives, together with the renewable energy strategy, will contribute to the realisation of Ireland's CO2 emissions targets.