Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (281)

Michael Lowry


281. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of applications (details supplied) for the SEAI renewable heat-deep retrofit scheme; when a letter of offer will be issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40211/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I understand this question relates to the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat which has been developed to financially support the adoption of renewable heating systems by commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating and other non-domestic heat users not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System.The first phase of the scheme, an installation grant for heat pumps, opened for applications in September 2018. Following EU State aid approval, the second phase of the scheme, an operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems, opened for applications in June of this year. Under this phase of the scheme, eligible renewable energy technologies will be supported through a multi-annual payment, for a period of up to 15 years, on the basis of prescribed tariffs. Under Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan sets out an allocation of €300 million for the roll-out of the scheme for the period up to 2027. Applications received under the second phase of the scheme are being evaluated by SEAI, who administer the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat. SEAI inform me that the first projects have completed the evaluation process and are ready for approval. Prior to any projects being formally approved, an Annual Budget Cap for the scheme must be set. This is a financial safeguard that was included in the Government decision approving the scheme. It places an overall limit on the State's annual expenditure in any given year and is one of a number of measures put in place based on lessons learned from similar schemes in other jurisdictions.

The Annual Budget Cap will be set by me with the agreement of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. I plan to do this as part of the budgetary process and I expect the first projects to be formally approved this month.