Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (33)

John McGuinness

Question:

33. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will outline a response to the OECD's Economic Survey of Ireland 2013, in particular, his views on whether the OECD's suggestion that ownership of the electricity transmission grid should be transferred from the ESB to EirGrid; his views on whether the ESB's generating business should also be separated into competing generating companies and partially privatised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44977/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government, in July 2011, considered the ownership of the Irish electricity transmission system and the appropriateness of transfer of transmission assets from ESB to EirGrid. This consideration was undertaken in the context of how best to implement the unbundling provisions of the "Third Energy Package" and the various options set out therein.

The Government's July 2011 decision, on foot of a detailed analysis of the transmission assets, was that Ireland would apply the option or derogation set out in Article 9.9 of the relevant Directive (Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC). Effectively, the Government's decided to confirm the current transmission asset ownership regime. An application for certification under Article 9.9 was submitted to the European commission. On 12 April 2013 the European Commission certified the transmission system arrangements in Ireland as being in accordance with Article 9.9.

As regards the 2013 OECD report, I should highlight that the report did not make a fresh recommendation regarding transfer of the ownership of the electricity transmission assets. Rather, it reported on the current state of play in relation to recommendations previously made and it noted that our transmission system arrangements had been certified by the European Commission in May 2013.

With regard to ESB's generation business, in February 2012 the Government committed to the sale of some of ESB's non-strategic electricity generation assets. Certain assets have been identified for sale and progress is being made with the first sale announcement expected to be made shortly.

More generally, it is also important to note that the opening up of the power generation sector in Ireland has led to the entry of new players and investors.

Question No. 34 answered with Question No. 29.