* To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide, in tabular form, a breakdown of the subsidies received by Irish wind farms and wind developers for the years 2011 to 2014 and 2015 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Anthony Lawlor.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.
(827 Received on 10th March, 2015.)
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White)
The primary support mechanisms for renewable energy, including wind farms, are the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) schemes and the Renewable Energy Feed-In-Tariff (REFIT) schemes. These schemes were introduced to incentivise the development of the renewable electricity generation capacity necessary to allow Ireland to meet its renewable energy targets, including a target of 40% of electricity demand from renewable generation by 2020. This target must be achieved in order for Ireland to meet its binding obligation of 16% of total energy demand to be from renewable sources by 2020.
The existing feed-in tariff schemes are a very cost effective tool to support renewable energy development relative to other EU Member States. Ireland’s approach was confirmed as one of the most cost effective within the EU by a report published by the Council of European Energy Regulators in January this year.
The schemes are supported by the electricity consumer through the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy. The PSO levy for each year is determined in the annual PSO decision published by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) on its website. The figures for each year include a projection for the forthcoming PSO period and a reconciliation of costs against the projection for the PSO period two years previously. In other words, the figure for 2014/15 projects the amount required to be paid to generators for that period and includes any reconciliation associated with the 2012/13 PSO period.
While the majority of projects supported under these schemes are for wind generation, the subsidies are not currently broken down by technology. The CER has initiated a project to generate a report on the annual and cumulative costs to date in relation to REFIT schemes for each technology supported under REFIT.
The following table presents the PSO costs for overall renewable generation since 2010/11.
Year PSO funding for Renewables (€ Million)