Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (21, 26)

John Curran

Question:

21. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will take the necessary steps to allow domestic and community groups that engage in microgeneration to supply the surplus electricity generated to the national grid rather than having to store surplus power in batteries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28531/19]

View answer

Martin Heydon

Question:

26. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress on the development of a new micro-generation scheme to allow homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell the excess back to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28555/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 26 together.

The Climate Action Plan launched last month sets out Ireland's 2030 climate ambitions which is consistent with a trajectory to meet net zero emissions by 2050.

Action 30 of the Plan sets out the steps necessary and timelines for the delivery of an enabling framework for micro-generation. The objective is that a support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all micro-generators by 2021. ESB Networks and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities will assess potential implications for the distribution network of higher penetrations of micro-generation by the end of 2019. My Department will establish a working group which will set policy objectives which will in turn lead to the detailed design of the support scheme.

Micro generation was also appraised as part of the economic assessment for the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. The analysis identified a number of challenges that may need to be addressed before a support scheme for micro generation can be developed. These include a reform of network charges, an assessment of the distributional impact of such a policy decision on the PSO (cost burden sharing), and development of a fair tariff for exported electricity taking the benefits of self-consumption into account. This approach is in line with experience from other EU member states who have attempted to introduce supports for micro generation.

The pilot scheme launched last year and administered by the SEAI is being reviewed and the costs of installation being assessed. The data gathered during the pilot scheme will inform potential future phases of support for micro generation in Ireland that may be appropriate, as we align with the ambition of the recast Renewable Energy Directive which recognises the rights, entitlements and obligations of renewable communities and self-consumers.