Thursday, 5 July 2012

Questions (97, 98)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

97 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will recommend an ending of the price support regime provided to assist the production of electricity from peat-fired power stations, in view of the strong recommendation agreed at the Rio+20 summit asking governments to phase out such fossil fuel subsidies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32847/12]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

99 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to end the subsidy regime provided to support the production of electricity from peat-fired power stations, in view of the strong recommendation agreed at the Rio+20 summit asking governments to phase out such fossil fuel subsidy regimes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32848/12]

View answer

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 99 together.

The Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy has been in place since 2001 and is a support mechanism for peat generation, some conventional generation and the development of renewable electricity. The levy is designed to compensate electricity suppliers for the additional costs they incur by purchasing electricity generated by the three peat stations and renewable energy sources. The PSO Scheme for peat was approved by the European Commission in 2001 and was designed to enable the accelerated closing down by ESB, of existing six old peat fired plants and building two new more environmentally friendly and efficient plants with a 15-year operation lifetime. The PSO also applied to the peat fired plan in Edenderry which is now owned by Bord na Móna.

The use of peat for power generation and the related PSO support is already being phased out. The PSO for Edenderry expires in 2015. Bord na Móna is incrementally increasing the co-firing of biomass with peat in anticipation of the cessation of peat in three years time. The PSO for the two ESB peat stations expires in 2019 and the use of peat by power generation at the stations will therefore cease in seven years time. ESB is conducting initial research and trial ling on the potential to convert the stations to biomass.