I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 87 together.
The Government's Policy Statement on Security of Electricity Supply, published at the end of last month, sets out that the development of new conventional generation, including gas-fired generation, is a national priority and should be permitted and supported in order to ensure security of electricity supply and support the growth of renewable electricity generation.
The policy statement supports the need to deliver circa 2 GW of new gas-fired generation which is set out in the National Development Plan 2021-2030 and the Climate Action Plan 2021.
The need for this level of new gas-fired generation capacity was identified by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, which has statutory responsibility for security of electricity supply, and EirGrid.
It is important to note that the development of flexible gas-fired generation is to provide security of supply and support increased levels of renewable electricity generation. This new capacity will only run when needed, with renewable generation dispatched in the market first, and therefore the level of associated emissions will be minimised.
In addition, the Department is carrying out a review of security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems focussing on the period to 2030 in the context of ensuring a sustainable pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.
I expect the technical analysis will be published and the public consultation commenced early next year. It is planned to complete the overall review in mid-2022 following which it will be submitted to Government.