Parliamentary Question No. 273
To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide an update on the analysis undertaken by his Department and the Sustainable Energy Authority and if this analysis will be published..
– Seán Kyne.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. P. Rabbitte)
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has been working on microgeneration activities for a number of years. Some initiatives that SEAI has undertaken to support micro-generation include:
Formation of a standards development group to develop FETAC standards for accredited microgeneration installer training awards
Development of micro-generation product quality assessment criteria and the extension of the SEAI Triple E register to include micro-generators
Publication of information and guides on the implementation of micro-generation projects.
The SEAI microgeneration pilot programme, launched in 2009, was designed to assess the potential market for small- and micro-scale renewable energy generation; to identify barriers to meeting the potential; and to determine the performance of the technologies in the field. The pilot encompassed a range of renewable technologies including wind, solar PV and hydro up to a nominal capacity of 50kw.
Ongoing monitored pilot field trials were a significant part of the programme and provide robust data on the performance of installations. The installations have been subject to an 18 month monitoring period since January 2011. SEAI have provided an interim report on the monitoring to my Department and a final report on the trials will be presented before end 2012. I will discuss with SEAI the options for publication of this report, when finalised.
The Department has asked SEAI to update some initial information on feed-in-tariff costs, given how significantly solar PV costs have fallen globally in the last 2 years. While the Programme for Government proposes a microgeneration feed in tariff not significantly above the single energy market price for electricity, indications from the combined ESB Networks/Electric Ireland microgeneration programme that ran 2009-2011 were that there was only a modest take up of microgeneration in the domestic sector, although the feed in tariff offered in total was almost three times the current single electricity market price. Should a scheme be introduced, if this to be funded from the PSO levy, increased electricity costs would have to be borne by all customers to fund it.
My Department and SEAI are continuing to finalise analysis on the cost effective options which could be considered for supporting the micro-generation sector, having regard to the costs and benefits for all energy consumers.