Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (16)

Darren O'Rourke

Question:

16. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he plans to raise the borrowing limits of semi-State companies under his remit to permit higher borrowing for climate-focused investments; the proposals being examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7767/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

ESB's borrowings are governed by a Statutory Borrowing Limit, as set out in the Electricity (Supply) (Amendment) Act, 1954. Following analysis by NewERA, the Ministers for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and I, it was agreed to introduce legislative amendments to increase ESB's Statutory Borrowing Limit to €12 billion. This will be brought into effect as part of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill.

ESB’s Statutory Borrowing Limit has only been increased twice since 1954, once in 1982 and again in 2004. The proposed increase is to ensure that ESB has access to the funds needed to allow the Group to help decarbonise the energy sector. ESB’s Strategy 2030, which is aligned with Government policy and sets out the Group’s ambition to lead the transition to low-carbon energy, requires a significant level of investment by the Group in its business, in particular in electricity network assets and renewable generation assets. 

Bord na Móna have also submitted a proposal to increase their Statutory Borrowing Limit as set out in the Turf Development Act 1998. This proposal is currently being examined.

I expect all commercial state bodies to contribute  to achieving the emissions reductions targets set out on the Programme for Government. This issue will be examined as part of the update of the Climate Action Plan which is currently underway.