Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (334, 338)

Dara Calleary

Question:

334. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of semi-State bodies under his control that are involved in wind farm development; his plans to direct any other State agencies under his control to engage in wind farm development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15175/14]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

338. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of agencies or companies within his Department involved in wind energy development; the element of co-ordination between them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15233/14]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 334 and 338 together.

Wind energy developments are undertaken by a number of commercial State companies including ESB (Electricity Supply Board), BGÉ (Bord Gáis Éireann), and Bord na Mona (BnM). I understand Coillte is also active in wind energy initiatives. The decision to undertake such developments are operational matters based on commercial decisions by the individual companies and are not undertaken at my direction, as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

However, financing arrangements for wind farm projects do form an integral part of the standard approvals for capital expenditure sought by the companies within my area of responsibility. Such approvals are considered and provided by my Department on foot of formal applications from the individual companies, in the context of relevant delegated authority protocols.

BGÉ and ESB have significant portfolios of wind generation assets, some already operational, others in development. BGÉ's energy business, which comprises the wind assets portfolio, is part of the State Assets Disposal Programme, to be sold to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, as part of a consortium that also comprises Centrica plc and iCON Infrastructure. The transaction process is at an advanced stage and is expected to conclude in the coming months.

BnM has made significant investment in wind energy projects such as the Mount Lucas project in County Offaly and Bruckana in County Tipperary. In addition, BnM, in conjunction with ESB, has formed a joint venture company to develop a wind farm at Oweninny in County Mayo.

Consideration is currently being given to the potential for a collaborative approach to wind energy development by BnM and Coillte. The outcome of detailed analysis, led by NewERA, on such a collaborative approach, is expected shortly.

Question No. 335 answered with Question No. 324.