Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Ceisteanna (41, 42)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

92 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which he expects each sector of the renewable energy options to provide for the generation of electricity in each of the next five years; the extent by which this represents an increase on the current amount of generating capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11416/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

365 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which he expects each sector of the renewable energy options to provide for the generation of electricity in each of the next five years; the extent by which this represents an increase on the current amount of generating capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11541/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 365 together.

The support programmes put in place by the Government to promote the increased use of renewable energy technologies in electricity production have more than doubled the total capacity of renewable energy powered electricity generating plants connected to the electricity network in the last three years.

Building on the success of the Government in this area, we have set a national target of 15%, contribution of renewable energy which approximates to 1650MW, by 2010. The current renewable capacity is approximately 1,000 MW. We are fully on track to meet that target.

The Government's White Paper, "Delivering A Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland", sets a further target of 33% of gross electricity consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. Delivery on the ambitious 33% target requires the maintenance of robust support measures which can provide sufficient market certainty to assist new sustainable projects. The system must also maintain the necessary flexibility to accommodate emerging technologies.

At the present state of technology development, it is expected that wind energy will provide the pivotal contribution to achieving the 33% target. But we are creating the conditions for a balanced portfolio of renewable technologies including biomass and ocean technology.

The Government's White Paper sets a target of 30% co-firing at the three State owned peat power generation stations to be achieved progressively by 2015. ESB and Bord na Móna will work with the biomass sector on the potential of co-firing over the short to medium term.

The White Paper also sets an initial ambition of 500 MW of ocean powered plant by 2020. This will be achieved as part of an integrated Strategy to make Ireland a world leader for research, development and deployment of Ocean Energy technologies. Collaboration by SEI, the Marine Institute, UCC and other institutions as well as, ESB and EirGrid is being enhanced to develop and deliver solutions to the challenges facing ocean technologies. Ireland is also working in collaboration with other countries under the IEA Ocean Energy Systems Implementation Agreement. We will also leverage opportunities under the EU FP7 support programme for renewable technologies.

The Government is not prescriptive in terms of the contribution which each renewable energy technology will potentially make to meeting the 2020 target. We will continue to support the research and development and deployment of all renewable technologies appropriate to Irish energy needs.

Question No. 93 answered with QuestionNo. 90.