Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (209, 210, 211)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

341 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he intends to allocate some of the additional public purchase contract capacity that has been approved by the European Union for biomass projects such as the one proposed by a company (details supplied); and the way in which the application made by this company under the AER VI scheme stands in the reserve lists of projects which bid above those successful bidders already granted contracts under the scheme. [25142/04]

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Eamon Ryan

Question:

342 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the procedures he intends to follow regarding the review of the successful bidders for electricity generation from biomass anaerobic digestion under the AER VI scheme; and the procedures that will be put in place to transfer the public purchase agreement to other unsuccessful bidders if it is clear that the winning contracts will not be built within the timeframe expected. [25143/04]

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Eamon Ryan

Question:

346 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details of the reserve list for onshore wind farm bidders who failed to gain a public supply contract under the recent AER VI programme; when he intends to allocate the additional 140 MW of public service contracts that he is now providing under the programme; and the criteria he will use to allocate those additional contracts. [25483/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 341, 342 and 346 together.

The 1999 Green Paper on sustainable energy established a target to add 500 MW of new renewable energy-based electricity generating plant to the electricity network by 2005. It was envisaged this would be achieved by awarding support contracts under the AER V and VI rounds of the alternative energy requirement, AER, support programme. The 500 MW had EU state aids clearance prior to the commencement of AER VI.

Subsequently, the market was notified of proposals to allocate support for a further 140 MW of AER projects generally and 50 MW and 28 MW specifically for offshore wind energy and biomass-fed combined heat and power, CHP, projects, respectively, subject to state aids clearance. The necessary state aids clearance was received recently and I will announce shortly the allocations, by applicant, of all the remaining unallocated capacity. The formal allocations of the 140 MW capacity, by category, will form part of that announcement. Otherwise the capacity, by category, will be awarded in accordance with the published AER VI reserve lists. These reserve lists are available on my Department's website,www.dcmnr.ie.

Inclusion on those lists confirms the associated applications were examined and found compliant with the published conditions precedent when received. Thereafter, the ranking of projects in those lists is indicative of the relative competitiveness of the prices bid in each category, commencing with the lowest prices bid in each category listed first. Where the next most successful applicants bid identical prices in any category and the unallocated support capacity is less than the aggregate proposed, any available support allocation will be done by lottery after notice is given to each applicant. This is also in accordance with the published competition rules.

The successful applicants will have an ongoing obligation to remain compliant with the published terms and conditions and clause 4A in particular. My Department will continue to monitor ongoing compliance. If it comes to notice that any project is in breach of the competition rules, the position, in principle, is that the formal offer of a power purchase agreement will be withdrawn and reallocated to the next most compliant application or applications in accordance with the published competition rules. This is the best method of delivering the inherent environmental benefits at the lowest additional cost to consumers.