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 Header Item Renewable Energy Generation (Continued)
 Header Item Energy Schemes

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte] The Deputy can pursue my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, on the transport aspect of the matter. While it is difficult, the plan we have set ourselves relates in a European context to the situation post-2020 and what will happen after the 2020 targets. We will continue to make the 2020 targets which have been agreed our targets.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy I anticipate that given the absence of a coherent strategy for involving host communities in the national effort, the Minister will continue to receive questions on developments from my party. Any strategy must clearly outline how host communities will be impacted upon and how their interests will be protected as part of the process. Until that strategy is in place, the Minister will continue to receive representations.

In the context of local area renewable energy projects, a number of people have contacted me on the contribution anaerobic digestion might make to the national grid. They have been told that it costs €500,000 to connect to the national grid. In essense, that is to say, "Go away. We do not want you." I ask the Minister to use his good offices to ensure there will be a realistic cost associated with connecting to the national grid. Small area power units have a fair contribution to make to the overall strategy which needs to be in place.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I agree with the Deputy and I am sure that he will agree with me that in the rush towards renewables one must have regard to economics. The refit subsidies are not without cost. In particular, refit 3 which relates to combined heat and power systems, biomass and so on is expensive, about which there is no doubt. I hope to publish a strategy on bioenergy by the end of the year, if not sooner, depending on other considerations in play. I would welcome the input of the Deputy and other Members in that regard.

Energy Schemes

 54. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide an update on the expected delivery of a functioning pay-as-you-save scheme to allow for home energy retrofit; when the first applications may be made under this scheme; the reason for the delays in establishing this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [27093/13]

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The national energy efficiency action plan and the programme for Government include a commitment to roll out a better energy financing - formerly known as pay-as-you-save - energy retrofit scheme for domestic buildings. The better energy financing, BEF, model proposes that the current suite of Exchequer funded grants for energy efficiency measures will be replaced by a new financing scheme open to households and commercial operators. I stress, however, that it is my intention, in the context of the introduction of a BEF scheme, that the existing grants scheme aimed at those on low incomes will remain in existence.

The key benefit to homeowners of the BEF mechanism is that the scheme will allow them to secure up-front financing for energy efficiency upgrades to their homes and, in the process, remove one of the key barriers to energy efficiency. The principle underpinning the model is that up-front funding will be repaid via savings on customers' energy bills arising from energy efficiency measures. While that is the principle, it will be a challenge to ensure sufficient savings are realised within a short period to cover the costs involved. This is a particular focus of the project board referred to. The consumer will also benefit through the creation of a robust quality assurance process which will protect consumers and ensure high quality workmanship.

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