Update: Alternative Electricity Generation Facilities 18th July 2014

18th July 2014 - Bernard Durkan TD

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which adequate levels of alternative electricity generation facilities have been identified in order to comply with existing or anticipated EU regulations with particular reference to the control of emissions in line with national and international guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 17th July, 2014.

 

 

Ref No:

32569/14

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his expectations in regard to the development of the wind energy sector; the extent to which national grid requirements are likely to be met through wind energy including potential back up in respect of both targets for the internal or export markets; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

 – Bernard J. Durkan.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 17th July, 2014.

Ref No: 32571/14

REPLY

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White T.D.)

I propose to take Questions Nos.437 and 439 together.

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our overall energy requirements in the electricity, heat and transport sectors from renewable sources by 2020. In order to meet this overall target, Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources.

Provisional figures indicate that, in 2013, 20.5% of Ireland’s electricity requirements were met by renewable technologies such as wind energy, hydropower and biomass with 16.4% of electricity demand being met by wind generation. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland on Quantifying Ireland’s Fuel and CO2 Emissions Savings from Renewable Electricity in 2012 estimated that renewable electricity generation resulted in CO2 emissions being reduced by 1.94 million tonnes in 2012.

Achieving these renewable energy targets requires investment in generating capacity and at the end of 2013, the total amount of renewable generation connected to the grid was 2,300 MW with over 3,000 MW of renewable generation having taken up connection offers under the Gate 3 grid connection programme. It is estimated that a total of around 4,000 MW of onshore renewable generation capacity will be required to allow Ireland to meet its 40% renewable electricity target.

Although achieving our renewable energy targets will be challenging, it has been established that Ireland has sufficient onshore renewable energy resources to do so. Intensive discussions took place over the last year with the UK to establish if it would be possible to export renewable energy in order to allow the UK meet its 2020 target. While this work established that, with the appropriate policy and regulatory framework, renewable energy trading could deliver benefits to both Ireland and the UK, the complexities involved and the decisions yet to be taken by the UK, make post 2020 delivery more realistic given project lead times. Nevertheless, given the move towards an Internal Market for Energy, I am of the view that trade in renewable electricity is likely to happen after 2020. Any such trading would require infrastructure that would be separate from Ireland’s transmission grid and would be funded by private developers without any impact on the Irish consumer.

It is also clear that there is potential to increase the diversity of our renewable generation portfolio in the period beyond 2020. To that end, the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP), published earlier this year, identifies the sustainable economic opportunity for Ireland in the period to 2030 of realising the potential of our indigenous offshore wind, wave and tidal energy resources. The Strategic Environmental Assessment carried out for the OREDP found that 4,500 MW of offshore wind and 1,500 MW of wave and tidal generation could be sustainably developed in Irish waters.

In terms of European targets for the period beyond 2020, the EU Commission published its 2030 Climate and Energy Package in January this year. Work is underway on a cross-Departmental basis to establish the appropriate national position for Ireland in relation to greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy targets in the context of an overall level of ambition set by the Commisison for a 40% greenhouse gas reduction and 27% renewable energy target at EU level for 2030. The contribution of the various sectors to meeting the national targets will be considered as part of developing a national position over the coming months.

 

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