In January of this year the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Mr. Edward Davey MP, and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation. That Memorandum sent a strong signal of our shared interest in developing the opportunity to export green electricity from Ireland to Britain and will result in completion of consideration of how Irish renewable energy resources, onshore and offshore, might be developed to the mutual benefit of both countries. The amount of energy to be procured by the United Kingdom and the mechanisms for sharing the resultant economic benefits, including an appropriate return to the Exchequer, are among the matters to be addressed ahead of signing any Inter-Governmental Agreement.
Projects of a significant scale specifically for export will have to await (i) the signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement, (ii) the Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework which is being developed by my Department over the coming year or so, and (iii) the obtaining of planning permission, informed by this policy, from An Bord Pleanála. Given the relative maturity of wind technology and the abundant resource available to Ireland, wind generation is likely to contribute a large component of any potential export to the United Kingdom. In this regard, both onshore and offshore developers will be free to bring forward proposed developments in due course.