Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 18 February, 1999
Written Answers. - Energy Requirements.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
7. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if proposals to date are sufficient to meet projected energy requirements with particular reference to electricity generation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4553/99]
Mr. M. Higgins Mr. M. Higgins
40. Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she will bring forward the completion date of the gas demand study in view of the fact that private operators are suggesting plans to build a second interconnector with the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4576/99]
Mr. Yates Mr. Yates
60. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the proposals, if any, the Government has to construct a second gas pipeline to connect to the United Kingdom; and when this facility will be commissioned. [3928/99]
Mrs. O'Rourke Mrs. O'Rourke
 Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): I propose to answer Questions Nos. 7, 40 and 60 together.
Existing capacity of the Bord Gais Scotland-Dublin interconnector is sufficient to meet forecast gas demand until 2001. Bord Gais will enhance the capacity of the interconnector by 70 per cent by means of additional compression to be provided in the years 2000 and 2001. There will then be adequate capacity to meet forecast gas demand until 2004.
A study of natural gas demand and related infrastructural options to the year 2025 is being conducted by Bord Gais and my Department and is already well advanced. A high priority continues to be given to the study.
Technical consultants have recommended the provision of a second gas interconnector between Scotland and Dublin, parallel to the existing interconnector, as the optimal option. That option is being considered by Bord Gais and my Department against the background of a possible commercial gas discovery in the Corrib field off the west coast, the question of the provision of a North-South gas interconnector and a proposal by a company to construct a natural gas interconnector pipeline between Britain and Dublin, to be operational by October 2001.
I have had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the question of how best to address future gas needs for the whole island; I will be meeting with Dr. Mo Mowlam again within a few weeks to develop our ideas further.
As previously advised to Deputy Durkan, the ESB, in consultation with my Department, published a statement of new generating capacity requirements up to the year 2005 in October 1998. This concluded that existing capacity together with plant in the pipeline, including the final phase of ESB's combined cycle gas plant at Poolbeg and the new Edenderry peat plant, will be broadly sufficient to meet demand to 2001. New capacity in excess of 200MW will be required in late 2001 or early 2002, and further new capacity in excess of 800MW will be needed by 2005.
A number of private sector interests, including Viridian (formerly Northern Ireland Electricity)/CRH, Marathon, and IVO/Elf, are at present actively developing plans to enter the Irish market under the provisions of the electricity directive to be implemented here by 19 February 2000. The ESB is making similar plans for new plant, and I have recently given approval to the ESB for capital expenditure in the preparatory work up to completion of the planning permission process.
Both the ESB and any private sector interests will, of course, require an authorisation to construct new plant from the new Commission for Electricity Regulation to be established in the near future. On the assumption that all necessary approvals are secured during 1999, I have every confidence that new gas-fired plant will be available, as required, by end 2001.
Dáil Éireann 500 Written Answers. Energy Requirements.