Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 16 November, 2004
Written Answers. - Alternative Energy Projects.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
 189. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans to encourage the production of alternative electricity for contribution to the national grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28594/04]
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
190. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his short, medium and long term proposals to encourage alternative and environmentally friendly energy production; the extent to which he expects such sources to contribute to the national requirements in this regard in the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28595/04]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 and 190 together.
The current target, in the electricity market, is to add 500 MW of new renewable energy based electricity generating plant to the electricity network by 2005. This is supplemented by a more recent target set in AER VI to support the construction of an additional 218 MW of new generating plant by 2006 at the latest.
AER VI brings to a close an initial programme to add renewable energy technologies to the electricity network by competitive tendering, with wind energy dominant. At the end of last year, a consultation document entitled Options for Future Renewable Energy Policy, Targets and Programmes was published and public comment was invited on future targets and support mechanisms.
In May of this year, a renewable energy development group, chaired by my Department, was established. The group comprises relevant experts from the administrative, industrial and scientific sectors. This group has engaged in assessments of the various responses to the public consultation and will advise on future options on policies, targets, programmes and support measures to develop the increased use of renewable energy in the electricity market to 2010 and beyond. This group’s report, which is a comprehensive review of all pertinent issues, is due before the end of this year and will form the basis of future policy decisions on the increased penetration of renewable energy technologies in the electricity market.
In addition, an amendment to the Finance Act 1999 provides for the introduction of a scheme for excise tax relief for bio-fuels which are also renewable fuels used as alternatives for fossil fuels in vehicles. The purpose of the scheme is to allow qualified relief from excise of bio-fuel used in approved pilot projects for either the production of bio-fuel or the testing of the technical viability of bio-fuel for use as a motor fuel.
In tandem with these programmes, Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, the independent non-commercial State body focused exclusively on sus tainable use of energy including deployment of renewable energy sources, has commenced a challenging work programme to increase energy efficiency and to promote renewable energy technologies. In the renewable energy field specifically, SEI has opened a research, development and demonstration programme for renewable energy technologies. The programme is open to a wide range of proposals including policy studies, field research, feasibility studies and technology R&D.
Dáil Éireann 592 Written Answers. Alternative Energy Projects.