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Renewable Energy Generation (Continued)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 1

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Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The 2009 renewable energy directive set Ireland a binding target where at least 16% of our energy requirements should come from renewable sources by 2020. The directive also requires all member states to achieve a minimum target of 10% renewable energy in the transport sector by 2020. In order to meet our overall 16% requirement, we aim to achieve 40% in the renewable electricity sector, 12% renewables in the heating sector and the required 10% in transport. Under the directive, Ireland was required to set out in a national renewable energy action plan, NREAP, the trajectory towards meeting its legally binding targets. The NREAP and the first progress report on the NREAP, which are available on my Department’s website, show the sectoral and technology breakdown that we anticipate in the achievement of our target. By the end of 2011, we had reached 6.4% of overall energy consumption from renewable sources and the trajectory set out in the NREAP assumes that we will achieve the 16% target incrementally at approximately 1% per annum.

My Department’s Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012 to 2020 sets out the key strategic goals for the various renewable energy sectors. Although these targets are challenging, I am confident that we can meet them and there are a number of policy measures in place which will help us achieve these goals. The renewable energy feed-in tariff, REFIT, schemes will see increasing amounts of renewable electricity connected to the grid and, through REFIT3 support for biomass combined heat and power technologies, will also help towards our renewable heat target. Measures such as the biofuel obligation scheme to increase the use of biofuels and the electric vehicle grant scheme to incentivise the purchase of new electric vehicles will assist in meeting the target for renewable transport.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy I thank the Minister for the reply. Currently, the country is 89% dependent on imported fossil fuel which is costing the nation something in the order of €6 billion annually. The Minister has referred previously to a strategy and an action plan. Perhaps my understanding of what is a strategy and an action plan differs to that of the Minister. What I see is a wish list with some target dates and statements of intentions but I do not see the concrete action plans to hit the targets to which the Minister refers. I do not see that in the action plan or in the strategy. That strategy needs to be developed into something which the Irish public can recognise as a clear direction of where the country will go in this sector between now and 2020 in order to hit the targets. The strategy also needs to make very clear the areas where increased public-private participation will be encouraged and it needs to make abundantly clear how it is planned to handle the changes and the impacts on the places where people live. These developments will have an impact on places where people live. More specific details are required.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I will call the Deputy for a supplementary question.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I think the Deputy is being unfair and contradictory. He cannot say that he sees no evidence of the plan while at the same time his party frequently complains to me about new planning applications for wind farms in different parts of the country. I do not think the Deputy can have it both ways. The 40% target for renewables is important in that it increases diversity and it uses an available indigenous resource. As the Deputy rightly points out it reduces dependence on imported fuels and lowers that import bill of €6 billion. All the advice available to me forecasts that the 40% target will be met.

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