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of the competition rules, the position, in principle, is that the formal offer of a power purchase agreement will be withdrawn and reallocated to the next most compliant application or applications in accordance with the published competition rules.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.