Ireland has the capability to achieve its national targets for renewable electricity from onshore renewable generation alone, with capacity to spare. This means that, under the co-operation mechanisms outlined in Directive 2009/28/EC, there is potential for projects of scale both onshore and offshore that are aimed at export markets. It is in this context that 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. Furthermore, the Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework that my Department is currently developing will ensure that any export of renewable energy must take account of Ireland's energy needs and long term strategic energy requirements. Projects of a significant scale specifically for export will have to await the signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement, the putting in place of the policy framework, and the obtaining of planning permission, informed by this policy, from An Bord Pleanála.