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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I, too, support Senator Bacik's call for a debate on assisted suicide. It is important that we would have such a discussion, look at how other countries deal with the issue and get the perspective of individuals who have different views.
I call on the Leader to invite the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Naughten, to the House for a debate on renewable energy. We have targets to meet by 2020. Greenhouse gas emissions are supposed to be reduced by 20% and renewable energy is supposed to be increased by 16%. Each and every one of us is paying a public service obligation, PSO, levy for our electricity usage and virtually all of the money is going to big business. I spoke to the IFA yesterday and it would like to see 20% of the levy being diverted from big business to community and farming organisations. There is huge potential in the farming sector, as farmers have sheds and facilities which could accommodate solar panels to generate electricity.
As far as I can see, the problem is the inability of ESB Networks to allow those involved in microgeneration to access the national grid. We could debate that issue with the Minister. Small operators are delayed in getting access to the grid. ESB Networks has a lot to answer for in causing such a delay. Not alone does it not allow microgenerators to connect to the national grid, but it alsos delay the connection of other developments around the country to it. Something must be done to address the issue because the people involved are overpaid for what they do and we need to get more production from them.
I welcome the Minister's introduction during the summer of a pilot scheme to support microgeneration. I would welcome further details of that and how it is progressing. We must also examine a scheme whereby the agricultural community could add to our renewable energy targets by allowing it to access the PSO levy. Perhaps the Leader might ask the Minister to come to the House for a debate on the entire renewable energy area.