Dáil Éireann - Volume 652 - 23 April, 2008
Written Answers. - Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Deputy Tom Hayes Deputy Tom Hayes
Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his Department is working with State agencies or companies to progress a pilot project on carbon storage as part of the power generation process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15445/08]
Deputy Róisín Shortall Deputy Róisín Shortall
Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the steps being taken to pursue the option of carbon capture and storage; the legislation required to advance this method of addressing CO 2 emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14676/08]
Deputy Eamon Ryan Deputy Eamon Ryan
Deputy Eamon Ryan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 76 and 122 together.
 The issue of carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged globally as a key dimension to the continued use of fossil fuels for electricity generation. Energy efficiency and renewables are, in the long term, the most sustainable solutions both for security of supply and climate change but EU and global emissions cannot be reduced to necessary levels without the use of other options such as carbon capture and storage. We are monitoring developments at EU level and globally in terms of research and development initiatives under way as well as specific projects in Norway, Germany, Algeria and elsewhere. Developments in the UK including work on regulatory frameworks are of particular interest from the Irish perspective. A number of different technologies are under investigation around the world, some of which involve dealing with carbon before or during the combustion process, and some of which remove carbon dioxide after combustion and then sequester them in various places — in underground aquifers, at the bottom of deep oceans, in salt caverns and in disused oil and gas wells.
The assessment of the prospects for geological storage of carbon in Ireland is at a relatively early stage. A study is underway by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI). The study is examining the potential for carbon storage on the island of Ireland. In addition, the EPA has recently sought tenders for a geological assessment of the potential to store carbon dioxide in aquifers. The ESB is planning a pilot or demonstration project at its Moneypoint coal fired power station, under its new Strategic Framework to 2020, which includes a commitment to halve its carbon emissions within 12 years and to become a zero carbon emissions company by 2030. The potential use of one or more of the depleting Marathon field structures is also under consideration. These structures, however, could also prove suitable for much-needed strategic natural gas storage.
Given the complexity and range of issues and the number of stakeholders involved in progressing the Carbon Capture and Storage agenda, I have asked my Department to establish a cross-cutting group which will oversee a fully joined up approach to CCS developments at home and at EU and international level. The group will comprise the Department, SEI, GSI, EPA, the ESB, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and other players as necessary. The question of legislative underpinning for future carbon storage and capture projects will be kept under review in light of developments. The Commission’s recent proposal for a Directive on the storage of carbon will be of particular relevance in this regard. The Directive will be enabling rather than mandatory and will provide a framework to manage environmental risks and remove existing legislative barriers.
Dáil Éireann 652 Written Answers. Greenhouse Gas Emissions.