Dublin, Friday 31st July 2015
Two public consultation documents, published by Minister for Energy Alex White today (Friday), seek views on the renewable energy technologies that currently receive financial support from the State, and whether the Government should broaden the range of technologies it supports. One consultation focuses on renewable electricity technologies, while the other focusses on renewable heat systems.
The consultation on renewable electricity supports says that, while wind energy will continue to make an important contribution to meeting Ireland’s renewable energy targets, it should be complemented by other technologies to meet the country’s renewable energy ambitions.
It says these could include bioenergy, solar, offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies if they are both technically feasible and cost effective, and says the consultation will help determine whether supports are necessary to develop these technologies.
The consultation will also explore the potential and value of providing supports to micro-generation and smaller community-based projects.
The Renewable Heat Incentive consultation document proposes a renewable heat incentive (RHI) to encourage larger industrial and commercial heat users to switch to systems that produce heat from renewable sources, including biomass. It will inform an assessment of the feasibility of various technologies deployed to produce heat from renewables and tariffs “at a level that represents the most cost effective transition to the levels of renewable heat required.”
The consultations will help determine the criteria for financial support schemes to replace existing programmes, including the REFIT schemes, which expire at the end of this year. They both emphasise the importance of citizen and stakeholder engagement in the development of renewable energy policy and infrastructure.
Minister White said: “Encouraging the use of renewable electricity and heat sources will help us meet ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and tackle global warming. The energy White Paper, which I will publish in October, will set us on a path to transform Ireland’s energy production and consumption patterns so that, by 2050, our system will be largely decarbonised. One objective is to develop and broaden the range of renewable energy technologies at our disposal, which will also drive innovation and create green jobs.
“Our energy transition must respect citizens, who recognise the need to stop global warming, but who may also be concerned about the impact of energy technology and infrastructure on their communities. These consultations give everyone the opportunity to express their views on the renewable electricity and heat technologies that Government could support, before any decisions are made.”
The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources, as well as 12% of heat demand and 10% of transport fuel. Last October, the European Council reached political agreement on a target of a 40% reduction in European greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The agreement committed the EU as a whole to increase the proportion of energy it gets from renewable sources to 27%.
The consultation will remain open until Friday 11th September.
Notes to Editors
- Any new support schemes would require State aid approval from the European Commission.
- These consultations focus on the range of technologies available and seek information on the economics for deployment, as well as some high-level design aspects. Further consultations will be held on the design options and preferred design, for both the renewable electricity and renewable heat scheme, later this year.
- The schemes will be available from 2016 onwards (subject to EU State aid approval).
- To date, Irish renewable electricity support schemes have encompassed competitively allocated supports under the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) schemes and the Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff (REFIT) schemes.
- The REFIT schemes provide an index-linked support tariff for a period of 15 years. REFIT 1, which closed to new applicants in 2009, supported a range of technologies including wind, hydro, landfill gas and other biomass. The existing primary supports (REFIT 2 and REFIT 3) will close for new applications on 31st December 2015 with support running until 31st December 2032 (REFIT 2) and 31st December 2030 (REFIT 3) at the latest.