Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Ceisteanna (44)

Paul McGrath

Ceist:

95 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the full extent of his intended investment in research and development in the energy sector with a view to replacing carbon trading costs with procedures that will result in a serious reduction in carbon emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11450/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

Reduction in energy sector carbon emissions will be achieved under the Energy Policy Framework 2007-2020, in particular through the actions listed under the sustainability pillar. The contribution of the energy sector to carbon emission reductions will be further addressed in the forthcoming Climate Change Strategy. Among the key relevant 2020 targets are: 33% for electricity consumption from renewable sources; 800MW from combined heat and power; 500MW installed ocean energy capacity; 20% energy savings; 12% renewable share in heating; and 10% biofuels in road transport.

Achieving these targets requires the widescale commercial deployment of renewable and sustainable technologies in the electricity, heating and transport sectors, which, in turn, necessitates underpinning research and development. The investment required depends on the stage of development of the various technologies in each category. Ocean, solar and combined heat and power are at different, but relatively early, stages of feasibility, development and commercialisation in Ireland.

The White Paper on Energy Policy states that over €150m will be directly invested in energy research under the National Development Plan. The Government is committed to an energy research strategy for the medium to long term, which delivers on Ireland's strengths and tackles specific national priorities, while ensuring that Ireland benefits from international energy research and innovation. A comprehensive energy research strategy, which will set Irish energy research priorities, will be developed during 2007 under the auspices of the Irish Energy Research Council.

Particular priority will be given to R&D on renewable technologies, including biomass, ocean, solar and wind, other key priority areas include energy efficiency in transport, the built environment and industry, electricity storage projects and grid integration for renewables. The National BioEnergy Action Plan also highlights R&D priorities for second generation biofuels and research forestry and energy crops.