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Alternative Energy Projects.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 9 December 2004

Thursday, 9 December 2004

Questions (152, 153)

Bernard J. Durkan


149 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if wind generated electricity production has sufficient ease of access to the national grid, as provided for in the NDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32834/04]

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Bernard J. Durkan


152 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of firms willing to supply wind or alternative energy generated electricity in the country at present; the extent to which such suppliers are encouraged as envisaged in the NDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32837/04]

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 and 152 together.

My Department administers the alternative energy requirement, the underlying principle of which is that prospective generators are invited to make a formal application to build, own and operate newly installed renewable energy based electricity generating plant and to supply electricity from these to the ESB under a power purchase agreement of up to 15 years' duration. Full details of the AER programme, including those producers who took part in the process, are available on my Departments website at

This support programme is currently under review and I am awaiting reports from the bioenergy strategy group, the combined heat and power strategy group and the renewable energy development group. These reports are all due shortly and will form the basis of my future policy decisions on the increased penetration of renewable energy technologies in the electricity market.

The green electricity market has been fully liberalised since February 2000, some five years ahead of full market liberalisation in 2005. I do not have full details of the producers working in this market as some of them operate outside of the programmes run by my Department. The licensing of green energy suppliers is a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation. CER.

Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, is an agency established by Government in 2002, under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. SEI is responsible for the roll out of the energy measure of the sustainable energy priority of the economic and social infrastructure operational programme under the National Development Plan 2000-2006. SEI implements a range of programmes, which includes three programmes in the industry sector, four programmes in the built environment, four renewable energy programmes, as well as specialised statistical analysis and policy advice.

The renewable energy research and development programme provides support for renewable energy research and demonstration projects. The programme launched a new strategy in June 2004. To date the programme has approved over €5 million of projects covering biomass, biofuels, wave, wind, solar and geothermal energy. The renewable energy information office is a national service of SEI, established to promote the use of renewable energy and to provide advice and information both to the industry and to individual members of the public.

The grid upgrade programme is at present under review pending clarification of the connection process resumption by CER following the ending of the wind moratorium.