Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (470)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

470. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the measures which will be promoted during the Irish Presidency of the European Union to encourage positive discrimination towards renewable energy as the favoured means of energy production with the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8590/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

There are a number of important files to be progressed by the Irish Presidency in relation to the promotion of renewable energy. The Council conclusions on last year’s Commission renewable energy communication invited the Commission to present non-binding guidance to further improve national support schemes in order to achieve further cost reduction and market integration, as well as separate guidance on the implementation of the cooperation mechanisms provided for in the Renewable Energy Directive. The Commission is expected to publish its report in May and the Irish Presidency will facilitate discussions on it. The Energy Council in June will deliver Council conclusions on the Internal Energy Market Communication. This communication sets out actions to drive towards the achievement of the internal market for energy. The aim of achieving this internal market is to benefit customers, promote competition, achieve sustainability of supply and to decarbonise the electricity industry through increased renewable energy penetration and the improvement of infrastructure.

Another area to be progressed during the Presidency is the revision of the Energy Tax Directive in order to promote energy efficiency and use of more environmentally friendly energy sources including renewable sources.

The Irish Presidency is also progressing discussions on the proposal to amend the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive to take into account the indirect land use change impacts of biofuels. These proposals include measures which would incentivise the production and use of next generation biofuels. There will be orientation debates at the February Energy Council and March Environment Council and it is the Presidency's aim to produce a Progress Report for both Councils in June. Finally, last month the Commission published a draft Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure. The aim of this proposed directive is to reduce dependency on oil throughout the EU by ensuring that adequate infrastructure is available in Member States both for the supply of alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, hydrogen and biofuels and for the charging of Electric Vehicles. The Commission will present on its proposal at the Transport Council on 11 March and there will be a first exchange of views by Member States.