Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 19 October, 2006
Written Answers. - Electricity Generation.
Mr. McGinley Mr. McGinley
Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will by direction or legislation speed up and simplify access to the grid for alternative electricity generators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33550/06]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: In accordance with the Electricity Regulation Act 1999, the Minister has no function in relation to access to the electricity transmission and distribution systems. These are matters for the system operators subject to directions given by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). The CER, established by the Electricity Regulation Act 1999, is the statutory body with responsibility for regulation of the electricity market in Ireland.
Under the Act, the CER may grant or refuse to grant a licence to generate or supply electricity. The CER must require the system operator to give priority to generating stations using renewable, sustainable or alternative energy sources. I am advised that the CER has adopted a group processing approach in order to address the unprecedented level of applications from renewable generators for connection to the electricity network. I understand that the Commission will announce very shortly the list of successful applicants who will be offered connections to the electricity system under the current Gate 2 phase of the group processing approach. This will result in the connection of an additional 1,300 MW of renewable generation to the electricity system.
The Energy Policy Green Paper: Towards a Sustainable Energy Future sets ambitious targets for the achievement of renewable penetration as a proportion of electricity consumption in Ireland. These targets are to achieve 15% penetration by 2010 and 30% by 2020. It is planned that All-Island targets for renewables will be set  during 2007. A public consultation on this Green Paper is ongoing and one of the key questions for consultation is: What can be done to improve the pace and range of development of renewable energy resources for electricity generation on a sustainable basis?
Any proposals to speed up and simplify access to the grid will be given my full consideration, and I will not hesitate to bring forward legislative changes or take other action if appropriate. Currently, I have certain limited statutory powers to give directions to the CER in relation to electricity trading arrangements solely. As the Deputy is aware the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 contains provisions to allow me, as Minister, to provide general policy directions to the CER in the interests of the proper and effective regulation of the electricity and natural gas markets to be followed by the CER in the exercise of its functions.
Question No. 102 answered with Question No. 18.
Question No. 103 answered with Question No. 64.
Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 35.
Question No. 105 answered with Question No. 100.
Dáil Éireann 625 Written Answers. Electricity Generation.