Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (547)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

547. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if plans are in place to increase the use of wind energy as a means of meeting targets in line with decarbonisation requirements; the extent to which the major renewables can be utilised to mount an accelerated campaign to catch up with EU identified targets within a reasonable time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22099/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I have recently set out a new ambition for Ireland, of reaching 70% renewable electricity by 2030, and details on how this will be delivered will be contained in the soon to be launched All of Government Climate Action Plan. The Plan will set out the necessary policy measures to help meet our 2030 target and will put Ireland on a clear pathway to meeting our 2050 objectives.

The EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. Good progress has been made to date, with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) advising that approximately 11.3% of Ireland's overall energy requirements in 2018 were met from renewable sources.

My Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), the primary objective of which will be to incentivise renewable electricity production (including from wind energy) to allow Ireland to deliver its 2030 renewable electricity contribution to EU wide targets and diversify the renewables portfolio on the system.

The RESS 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.

Furthermore, it is expected that corporate contracting of renewable energy sources will provide an important contribution to meeting Ireland's renewable energy targets. Corporate power purchase agreements also provide a route to market for project developers in the shorter term with real potential for boosting Ireland's renewable energy capacity in advance of the RESS, at no extra cost to the public and contributing to decarbonisation targets.