Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (203)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

203. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in the interests of sustainability and the development of renewable energy, the incentives that exist or are proposed, that will facilitate business installing renewable energy infrastructure; if he will outline any proposals that will facilitate the sale or the export of this renewable energy electricity to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10555/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The REFIT support system was introduced to support renewable sources of electricity in Ireland. The current REFIT reference rates are as follows:

Technology Price (Euro/MWh)

Large wind = 69.235

Small Wind = 71.664

Hydro = 87.455

Biomass/Landfill Gas = 85.026

Approximately 1900MW of renewable generation is currently connected to the Irish grid and almost 19% of electricity consumed in 2012 is estimated to have come from renewable sources.

Under the current implementation of REFIT only energy exported to the grid is eligible for support from the REFIT scheme. REFIT is a market support scheme which incentivises electricity suppliers to enter so called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with generators of renewable electricity. To be accepted into REFIT both planning permission and a grid connection are required. Under a PPA, the supplier undertakes to purchase all the output from a selected new renewable energy plant at contract prices which are fixed between the renewable electricity producer and the supplier at the commencement of each individual contract for 15 years. Since January 2012 there is a VAT refund for the purchase of microgeneration equipment for farmers/agricultural businesses. EirGrid is responsible for planning and development of the transmission grid. Grid 25 is EirGrid’s comprehensive strategy for developing the grid over the coming years to meet our increasing renewable energy needs. Through Grid 25 and the implementation plans for the different regions under that strategy, EirGrid has marked out the path for grid development to ensure that we can meet our renewable obligations. More information can be found here: http://www.eirgridprojects.com/.

The behaviour of the power system will change with increasing levels of variable non-synchronous generation on it out to 2020. The DS3 programme is EirGrid’s response to the these issues and involves the development of the appropriate new system operational policies and tools, and the identification of the capabilities and characteristics required from the conventional portfolio to meet the system needs out to 2020. In terms of autogeneration for businesses, policies to support this include CER Decision 09/99, which provides for small renewable and low carbon generators, including autoproduction, to connect to the grid outside of the normal Gate process.