Dáil Éireann - Volume 661 - 24 September, 2008
Written Answers. - Electricity Generation.
Deputy Simon Coveney Deputy Simon Coveney
 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the progress there has been in transferring all transmission assets to EirGrid by the end of 2008; if this target will be met; if not, the reason therefore; the date the transfer will be complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30957/08]
Deputy Eamon Ryan Deputy Eamon Ryan
Deputy Eamon Ryan: I would refer the Deputy to my statement of 13th March on the future of Ireland’s electricity sector. In that statement I affirmed the Government’s decision in the Energy Policy White Paper and the Programme for Government, to transfer the ownership of the electricity transmission assets from ESB to EirGrid. It is also a fundamental tenet of Government policy that we retain the electricity and gas networks as strategic national assets in State ownership.
The unbundling of the transmission assets involves the resolution of complex technical, financial and operational issues as well as the introduction of legislation. The process will take us beyond the original target date of the end of 2008, as all the parties concerned are aware.
In the context, not least, of wide-ranging challenging priorities for ESB and EirGrid, I have proposed that we commission an independent analysis of the transmission transfer, including costs, benefits and regulatory impact assessment, set in the context also of EU developments and the all island single electricity market.
Statements by myself and my predecessor, have consistently underlined the need for transparent and inclusive engagement with all relevant stakeholders in the process of implementing Government policy in relation to the electricity transmission assets.
Input to the process of independent analysis will accordingly be invited from the direct key stakeholders. These are the management and unions of ESB and EirGrid, the ESB Employee Share Ownership Trust, as well as the Commission for Energy Regulation and the Department of Finance.
I intend shortly to appoint the senior independent figure to chair this process including the commissioning of independent consultants to carry out the technical and economic analysis.
All the direct stakeholders have pivotal roles to play in the process of engagement and analysis and in achieving outcomes that are good for EirGrid and ESB, which are satisfactory for all parties concerned, and which are in the best interests of the economy and consumers. I look forward to getting this collective process under way following my appointment of the senior independent chair, and to completing it during 2009.
Government policy is clear in relation to ensuring the strategic future of both EirGrid and ESB as strong viable Semi State bodies with vital roles to play in delivering our national targets for emissions reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as security of supply and energy competitiveness.
Earlier this year, I welcomed ESB’s announcement of its new Strategic Framework to 2020, which will see an unprecedented capital investment programme by the company at home and abroad in support of our goals for renewable energy, energy efficiency, emissions reduction and energy security.
I look forward equally to EirGrid’s forthcoming Grid Development Strategy 2025 which will be published shortly. This will set out an ambitious national strategy for critical investment in the transmission system over the next two decades in support of economic, social and regional development and the integration of renewable energy generation.
Dáil Éireann 661 Written Answers. Electricity Generation.