Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (394, 402)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

394. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which he expects non-fossil fuel generated electricity infrastructure to develop in order to maximise the contribution of Ireland to carbon reduction in the short-term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29056/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

402. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to accelerate investment in non-fossil fuel generated electricity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29065/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 394 and 402 together.

The renewable energy sector has undergone a considerable transformation over the last 10 years, with the share of renewable electricity generation more than doubling to 30.1% in 2017. However, we must step up the scale of our ambition even further in order to meet our climate ambitions.

In the Climate Action Plan, I have set a target of 70% for renewable electricity by 2030, to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change and to reduce carbon emissions in the sector. Reaching a 70% share of renewable electricity would require 50-55% emissions reduction by 2030 relative to pre-NDP 2030 projections.

In order to meet the 70% RES-E target, major capital investment will be needed in new generation capacity, system service infrastructure and electricity transmission and distribution networks. A review will also be needed to the policy and regulatory framework to incentivise electricity storage infrastructure, which will be critical to absorbing higher levels of renewable generation on to the system. Progressing EirGrid’s Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) programme, as well efficient procurement of low carbon generation through the I-SEM capacity auctions, will be critical to delivering the system changes required to meet our 70% target.

As part of the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society, €14.2 Billion has been allocated under the National Development Plan 2018 - 2027. Of this, €500 million has been allocated to the Climate Action Fund. In excess of €13 Billion will come from Commercial State owned enterprises under my Department's aegis and will also play a crucial role in climate action initiatives. Major infrastructure projects to support the 70% renewable energy target will include the following areas:

- Enhanced electricity interconnection, including the Celtic Interconnector to France and further interconnection to the UK,

- Conversion of Moneypoint electricity generation plant to end the burning of coal by 2025,

- Conversion of peat power plants to more sustainable low-carbon technologies by 2028,

- Roll-out of the National Smart Metering programme to commence in 2019,

- On-going reinforcement of the existing power grid.