Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1025)

Michael Healy-Rae


1025. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of an application (details supplied) for an extension to REFIT 2 deadlines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12904/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The REFIT 2 and REFIT 3 schemes closed to new applications in 2015 in line with the relevant EU state aid notifications and any new aid granted must comply with the EU State Aid Guidelines for Environment and Energy 2014-2020. A number of extensions to both the REFIT 2 and REFIT 3 deadlines were granted in recent years. Following examination of relevant evidence including consumer electricity costs, I decided in February not to grant a request for a further extension to the REFIT 2 deadlines.

While I would not wish to comment on any individual application, officials in my Department review any submissions received from applicants under the REFIT Terms and Conditions and individual applicants are notified by the Department of the outcome.

Overall, as we work to expand the role of renewable electricity, it is important that Government does not crowd out private sector investment through extending subsidy schemes particularly at a time when corporate contracting of renewable energy is becoming an increasing feature of the global energy transformation.

The Department is working closely with ESB Networks, EirGrid and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to ensure that scheduled renewable electricity projects are connected as soon as possible to the electricity grid and that the current deadlines are met in order to maximise their contribution to the 2020 renewable energy targets.

I am currently focused on the preparation of an all of government Climate Action Plan which will provide for a substantial step up in our climate ambition for 2030 and any shortfall in meeting Ireland's 2020 targets would likely to be more economically met through the EU cooperation mechanisms or through other routes to market than supporting projects through the REFIT.