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Thursday, 4 Nov 2021

Written Answers Nos. 1-17

Questions Nos. 1 to 8, inclusive, answered orally.

Electricity Generation

Questions Nos. 10 to 13, inclusive, answered orally.

Questions (9)

Neasa Hourigan

Question:

9. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the actions he is taking to ensure that households get paid for the excess renewable electricity that they are supplying to the electricity grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53634/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

An upcoming Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) tariff will represent the first phase of a comprehensive enabling framework for micro-and small-scale generators in Ireland, allowing them to receive remuneration from their electricity supplier for all excess renewable electricity exported to the grid, reflective of the market value of that electricity.

The Clean Export Guarantee will be available to all renewables self-consumers later this year, subject to regulatory arrangements and the transposition of Articles 21 and 22 of the recast Renewable Energy Directive. My Department is engaging with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on transposing these Articles into Irish law, and it is expected that this will be completed before year end.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities published a consultation on a draft enabling framework on 1 October which outlined the details for the introduction of the Clean Export Guarantee payment, along with eligibility criteria and timescales for introduction. The consultation is now closed and I understand a decision is expected to be published this month and a compensation regime expected to follow shortly afterwards.

Further to a public consultation held earlier this year on a Micro-generation Support Scheme, my Department is also developing a final Micro-generation Support Scheme scheme design that incorporates the feedback from the consultation and subsequent additional analysis. It is expected that a proposal on the supports to be offered for new installations under the Micro-generation Support Scheme, which may include grants or premium tariff payments, will be submitted to Government later this year.

Questions Nos. 10 to 13, inclusive, answered orally.

Air Quality

Question No. 15 answered orally.

Questions (14)

Neasa Hourigan

Question:

14. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the actions he plans to take to ensure that new air quality regulations will be enforced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53635/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Local Authorities will be responsible for enforcing the provisions of the new enhanced solid fuel regulations within their functional areas and will have significant powers available to enable them do so effectively.

The Programme for Government also includes a commitment to develop a regional approach to air quality enforcement and an increase in multi-agency operations in order to clamp down on the sale of non-compliant solid fuels imported from other jurisdictions, with Local Authorities and the Revenue Commissioners involved. Given the links between burning of solid fuels and the health effects of air pollution, as well as the potential for market distortion for businesses properly adhering to the regulations, increased multi-agency enforcement and inspections of cross-border fuel movements will be required.

Discussions with the Local Authority sector have commenced with the intention of establishing dedicated resources within regional lead authorities to provide co-ordination, expertise and advice to support consistent enforcement of the new regulations across the country.

My Department is fully committed to supporting Local Authorities in this regard and has secured funding for 2022 to continue to enhance enforcement provisions, including through the provision of additional supports for the most effective model of enforcement.

Question No. 15 answered orally.

Departmental Schemes

Question No. 17 answered orally.

Questions (16)

Bríd Smith

Question:

16. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications his plans to review the work and schemes of the SEAI; the way he plans to ensure the authority will enable average income households to retrofit their homes to cut energy and CO2 emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53665/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2, cost optimal or carbon equivalent and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings over the next 10 years.

A new National Residential Retrofit Plan will be published shortly. The Plan is designed to address barriers to retrofit across four key areas: driving demand and activity; financing and funding; supply chain, skills and standards; and governance. Residential retrofit is also a major focus of the funding provided in the National Development Plan Review. €5 billion of the expected €9.5 billion in additional carbon tax receipts will be invested in energy efficiency and will underpin the National Retrofit Plan.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) residential and community energy efficiency schemes will be a central element of the retrofit plan.  Budget 2022 commits €202 million in carbon tax revenue to fund these schemes and a further €10 million from the Exchequer for the Solar PV scheme. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published a spending review of the Better Energy Homes and Better Energy Communities Schemes and a separate Social Impact Assessment of the Warmer Homes Scheme in October 2020.

My Department is also engaging with Department of Finance and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in relation to the development of a residential retrofit loan guarantee scheme. The loan guarantee, which is co-funded by the EU, will enable credit institutions to offer loans with reduced interest rates and make comprehensive home energy efficiency upgrades more affordable to consumers.

Question No. 17 answered orally.
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