Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 25 October, 2005
Written Answers. - Alternative Energy Projects.
Ms F. O’Malley Ms F. O’Malley
 347. Ms F. O’Malley asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the Government’s long-term strategy for the development of offshore wind resources, considering that no offshore project benefited from support in the recently announced support mechanisms for renewable energy projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30484/05]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey:The current target to promote renewable-powered technologies in the electricity market is to increase the amount of electricity from all renewable energy sources to 13.2% by 2010. This will require us to more than double the current generating capacity of 675 MW of renewable powered plant connected to our system to 1,450 MW by 2010.
This target is demanding and requires change. I recently announced a new support programme for renewable energy-powered electricity generating plants to ensure the target is delivered. The detailed draft terms and conditions of the new feed-in support programme were recently put out to public consultation on my Department’s website, www.dcmnr.gov.ie. Interested parties had until 12 October last to raise any queries or furnish any observations on the proposals and some 30 responses were received.
Following consideration of the matters raised in these responses, the new programme, to be known as the renewable energy feed-in tariff, REFIT, will be finalised and published shortly. My overall target is to optimise the amount of renewable energy technologies, which can be connected to the network while maintaining safe and reliable supply and reasonable retail charges for consumers.
Within the wind category of this new support programme, separate prices are proposed for small-scale wind projects and large-scale wind projects, and there is no differentiation between onshore and offshore projects. It will be a matter for project developers to determine whether a business case can be constructed to allow offshore projects, operating from a higher cost base than the onshore projects, to proceed under the new support programme.
The question of what higher target beyond 1450 MW can be set for all renewable energy technologies, including offshore wind, and in what timeframe, is one that requires further analysis and technical input. In July, my Northern counterpart, Ms Angela Smith MP, and I published a preliminary consultation paper on an all-island vision for renewable energy to the year 2020 and beyond. The consultation period recently ended and the response has been encouraging.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers. Alternative Energy Projects.