Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 19 October, 2006
Written Answers. - Alternative Energy Projects.
Mr. O’Shea Mr. O’Shea
Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the proposals he has to encourage ethanol and biodiesel production as a rural enterprise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31290/06]
Mr. Cuffe Mr. Cuffe
Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he intends to make an application for the exemption of all renewable energy fuels from Part 5 of the Customs and Excise Tariff, under Reliefs from Mineral Oil Tax of the Finance Act, 2006. [33494/06]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 12 together.
The Government is firmly committed to the development of an Irish biofuels market and to the increased development of bio-energy generally in Ireland. A range of initiatives are in place to support the development of a biofuels sector in Ireland. The 2005 pilot mineral oil tax relief scheme for biofuels has resulted in eight projects being awarded excise relief for a two year period under the scheme including four pure plant oil, three biodiesel or other biofuel and one bioethanol proposal.
Building on the success of this scheme I launched the Biofuels Mineral Oil Tax Relief Scheme II, valued at over €200m, in July 2006. The new excise relief programme, which is subject to State-aid approval, will provide a framework where farmers and potential developers can consider all such options. The scheme will be rolled out this year and will enable us to reach the initial target of 2% market penetration of bio fuels by 2008. When fully operational the relief is expected to support the use and production of some 163 million litres of biofuels each year. Applications received under the scheme are currently being assessed by an assessment panel established by my Department.
One of the aims of the new scheme is to stimulate the development of biomass/feedstock production in Ireland to support a sustainable domestic biofuels industry. There are considerable benefits to be accrued from a cohesive approach to bio energy and biofuels for both the demand and supply sides. Indeed such an approach is crucial. The Government has mandated all relevant Departments and Agencies to work collectively to best effect on the national bio-energy agenda.
I launched a Ministerial Bio Energy Task Force in July 2006. The primary objective of the Task Force is to draw up a cohesive national bio-energy strategy by the end of the year, which will set targets for deployment of bio-energy, identify priority areas for development and the necessary support measures to encourage supply and demand in a planned way. This strategy will also take account of EU developments, and the views of key stakeholders under the Energy Policy Green Paper consultation process.
The Task Force will consider whether continued excise relief programmes, or other measures such as a biofuels “obligation”, whereby fuel suppliers are obliged to place a certain proportion of biofuels on the market per annum, would be appropriate. Such considerations will be developed in tandem with EU developments. The Commission is currently undertaking a review of the Biofuels Directive and has placed increasing emphasis on bio-energy since the publication of its Biomass Action Plan in December 2005.
Dáil Éireann 625 Written Answers. Alternative Energy Projects.