Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (417)

Bernard Durkan


417. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will indicate to which unit cost in respect of electricity generation has been made with a view to identifying the most viable alternative electricity-generating sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10336/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I assume the Deputy is referring to price support schemes for renewable energy generation. Ireland operates a number of support schemes for renewable generation known as REFIT. The REFIT schemes operate by providing a floor price for renewable electricity exported to the grid from specified technologies over a 15 year period.

The reference rates for the REFIT 1 and REFIT 2 scheme per megawatt hour are as follows:

Large Wind


Small Wind




Biomass LFG


Other Biomass


The reference rates for the REFIT 3 scheme per megawatt hour are as follows:

Biomass Combustion


Biomass Combustion - Energy Crops


Large Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP)


Small Biomass CHP


Large Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Non CHP


Small AD Non CHP


Large AD CHP


Small AD CHP


The first Progress Report on the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), which is available on my Department’s website, sets out the expected breakdown in renewable technologies in the meeting of our target.

It estimated that 3968MW of installed renewable capacity would be required in 2020 to reach 40% renewable electricity, provided our energy efficiency targets are met. Of that, 3,521MW is estimated to be met from onshore wind, 75MW from wave and tidal, 234MW of hydro generation and 274MW of biomass.

The First Progress Report on the NREAP also acknowledged that there had been some changes as regards technology compared to the published NREAP. This Plan indicated a particular expected breakdown in the trajectory between onshore and offshore wind. The Government has, however, decided since, that in meeting our legal obligation to deliver the 2020 renewables target, onshore rather than offshore wind should be pursued in the first instance, in order to minimise any support scheme costs borne by electricity consumers.

Wave and tidal energy are still at the RD&D stage of development.

As can be seen above, the lowest support scheme reference rates are those relating to onshore wind and onshore wind is expected to provide the greatest contribution towards achieving 40% renewable electricity by 2020.