Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1202)

Carol Nolan

Question:

1202. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the establishment of a feed-in-tariffs scheme will be investigated similar to that in operation in the UK by which cash can be guaranteed to farmers on each unit of electricity produced by solar energy and generated for the national grid. [18863/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), the primary objective of which will be to incentivise sufficient renewable electricity production to enable Ireland deliver its 2030 renewable electricity contribution to EU wide targets. The economic appraisal undertaken for RESS involved comparing the cost of supporting a range of commercial renewable technologies, including solar PV and offshore wind, to ensure that the new scheme delivers value for money for energy users whilst also delivering on the energy pillars of sustainability and security of supply.

The Scheme, which was approved by Government in 2018, will be subject to an EU State Aid approval process in line with the 2014 EU State Aid Guidelines. The RESS will be characterised by a series of renewable electricity auctions, aligned with the ambition set out in Ireland's All of Government Climate Action Plan and final National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). It is expected that the first RESS auction will open for applications by the end of 2019.

In July 2018 my Department launched a new micro-generation scheme to support domestic customers who install solar photovoltaic panels in their homes. The pilot scheme, which is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, will be subject to a review in the coming months at which time the costs of installation will be assessed and further opportunities to broaden this scheme to other groups and other technologies will be explored. Potential future phases of support for micro-generation in Ireland may include a tariff, as we align with the ambition of the recast Renewable Energy Directive which recognises the rights, entitlements and obligations of renewable self-consumers.

In addition, solar PV is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, under the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme as part of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes. In fact the Minister for Agriculture last month announced an expansion of the Scheme which will include for the first time supports for on-farm renewable energy measures. Full details are available at:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/tams/