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Renewable Energy Incentives

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 26 July 2017

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Ceisteanna (1278)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

1278. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if grant aid is available for a specific purpose (details supplied). [35099/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The 2016 Programme for Government and 2015 Energy White Paper recognise that Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) has the potential to provide a community dividend, thereby enhancing citizen participation in Ireland's energy future, and it is increasingly recognised that Solar PV has the potential to contribute to meeting Ireland’s renewable energy and climate change objectives.

At present, Solar PV, for electricity generation, is not supported under any of the existing renewable electricity support schemes operating in Ireland.  However, my Department is currently developing a proposed new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) which will be designed to assist Ireland in meeting its renewable energy contribution to EU-wide targets out to 2030. The design of the new scheme is underway, and includes an extensive independent economic appraisal. This appraisal involves comparing the cost of supporting Solar PV (both rooftop and ground mounted), offshore wind, onshore wind and a range of other commercial renewable technologies, to ensure that the new scheme delivers value for money for energy users whilst also delivering on the energy pillars of sustainability and security of supply. The assessment also includes analysis of the optimum financial support mechanisms for renewable technologies, in line with the 2014 EU State Aid Guidelines.

My Department will publish shortly a final public consultation on the design principles of the new RESS. Following the outcome of this public consultation, and before any new scheme is introduced, it will need to secure Government approval and state aid clearance from the European Commission. Subject to this, it is expected that the new scheme will become operational in 2018.

My stated position is that while solar has a role to play in Ireland’s energy future, we cannot have a situation where a new support scheme leads to a disproportionate increase in people’s electricity bills through the Public Service Obligation levy. In designing the new RESS, the cost implications for people and businesses will, therefore, be a high priority and I will ensure that the new scheme is designed in a cost efficient manner.

Finally, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland currently provides grant aid for the use of solar thermal heating technology to both large industry and SMEs. Households can also avail of grant support for investment in renewable energy installations, including solar thermal, under the Better Energy Homes Scheme.

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