34. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is conducting a review of his Department’s strategy to combat energy poverty 2016 to 2019; the way in which he plans to further reduce energy poverty in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41700/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Energy Policy)

Deputy Denis Naughten: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. The strategy to combat energy poverty published in 2016 sets out the actions that will be taken between 2016 and 2019 to alleviate the burden of energy poverty on the most vulnerable in society. It focuses on a small number of high impact actions that will make a real difference to the lives of those living in energy poverty. In 2019 my Department will undertake a public consultation process to review the strategy. This consul...

1321. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to parliamentary question No. 1034 of 13 July 2017, if there is a Government policy relating to the emissions of greenhouse gases from development sites on peatlands, including degraded peatlands to which planning authorities should have regard in assessing proposals for renewable energy or other developments. (Question 36670/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As outlined in the National Mitigation Plan, which I published on 19 July 2017, I am open to considering further work on the role of wetlands as carbon sinks in the context of the mitigation of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. In order to build on the experience ​of research already undertaken, my Department intends to engage with a number of relevant Departments and Agencies on the development of a robust in...

492. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will set out the vision for the enhancement of the development of natural energy from solar, hydro, wind, wave or other sources over the next five years with particular reference to the need for a combination of energy sources to ensure continuity of supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30157/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The 2015 Energy White Paper and the 2016 Programme for Government recognise that Ireland’s long-term interests are best supported by further decreasing our dependence on foreign fossil fuels through the continued development of indigenous renewable energy.
At the national level, the 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive sets Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable s...

1788. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans introduce a new price support scheme in respect of renewable energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28606/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Programme for Government sets out that Ireland’s long-term interests are best supported by further decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels through the continued development of renewable electricity generation. This is underpinned by the Energy White Paper which sets out a framework that will guide policy in the energy sector from now until 2030. It sets a vision of reducing emissions from the energy system...

267. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the Moneypoint working group; the number of times that this group has met since its establishment; and the date by which the group will publish its findings. (Question 23611/17 asked on 18 May 2017 - Energy Policy Review)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Energy White Paper, ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030’, published in December 2015, notes that Moneypoint, Ireland’s only coal burning power station, contributes to diversifying Ireland’s fuel mix and the provision of competitively priced electricity. The station is owned by the ESB and the White Paper recognises that key decisions on its future will have to be taken before 2020 ...

44. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which his plans have progressed to develop the alternative energy sector in view of international trends and the extent to which dependency on imported fuels is likely to increase in the absence of a robust non fossil fuel sector; the degree to which reliance on foreign imports and costs associated therewith can be reduced significantly in the next ten years by way of the development of all viable alternatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13925/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The overarching objective of the Government’s energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced electricity to all consumers. The Energy White Paper, published in December 2015, sets out a high-level framework for Ireland’s energy transition to a low carbon economy and society and identifies a range of measures and actions to support this aim.
The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Direct...

1056. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if persons who use sludge for the growth of energy crops can still qualify for quality assurance in view of the fact the crop does not enter the food chain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13560/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Bord Bia Quality Mark can be applied to food that has been produced to the highest Bord Bia quality standards, and provides quality assurance to the food chain and is a critical element of both our national and international marketing agenda. 
The quality assurance standards that must be complied with are drawn up by a panel of experts selected from various parts of the industry/supply chain and include independent scienti...

750. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason fossil fuel heating systems are continuing to be promoted with grants of up to 50% by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland through their home and community energy efficiency grant programmes, Better Energy Homes and Better Energy Communities, while there is no additional support or incentive to install renewable heat or renewable electricity alternatives. (Question 10352/17 asked on 28 Feb 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Better Energy Programme is administered on behalf of my Department by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Under the Better Energy Homes (BEH) scheme, the grant available for an oil or gas boiler upgrade is limited to €100, a small contribution, and is only available when the upgrade is carried out along with the installation of heating controls. Heating controls are an extremely effective wa...

80. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason his Department is offering MSc scholarship opportunities in petroleum-related courses in view of the fact his Department’s statement of strategy declares one of its objectives is to pursue and achieve transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy, underpinned by a secure and competitive energy supply, in the period to 2050 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5792/17 asked on 07 Feb 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Seán Kyne) (Deputy Seán Kyne): The Energy White Paper “Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030” sets out a vision and framework to guide Irish energy policy and the actions that Government intends to take in the energy sector from now up to 2030, aimed at transforming Ireland’s fossil-fuel based energy sector into a clean, low carbon system by 2050. This ambitious vision for Irelan...

680. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to ensure the costs incurred by households which opt to heat their properties using renewable energy sources such as renewable biofuels are no greater than those incurred by households whose heating and energy needs are met by the utilisation of non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels; if his attention has been drawn to the effects which market forces and price volatility have in determining energy prices, particularly with regard to oil and gas, which resultantly can cost less than renewable energy alternatives for the purpose of meeting a household’s energy and heating needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4278/17 asked on 31 Jan 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Energy White Paper presents a long-term strategic vision that is intended to guide the direction of Irish energy policy from now until 2030. At its heart is a commitment to transform Ireland into a low carbon society and economy by 2050 and reduce the country’s fossil fuel dependency. The Programme for Government also commits to reducing our import dependency while maintaining energy security, affordability ...

681. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the level by which CO2 emissions have been reduced in Ireland as a result of the wind energy sector. (Question 4332/17 asked on 31 Jan 2017 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Harnessing our renewable energy resources will play a key role in the transition towards a sustainable, secure and competitive energy system.
The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020 and in order to meet this target, Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand from renewable sources, 12% rene...

461. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position with respect to the introduction of feed in tariffs as they apply to electricity generation through hydro, solar, wind and biomass; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33281/16 asked on 08 Nov 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The 2015 Energy White Paper sets out a vision to promote the development and diversification of renewable energy in Ireland in a competitive and sustainable manner. A well balanced fuel mix that provides reliable and sustainable energy, minimises costs and protects against supply disruptions and price volatility, is essential to Irish consumers and businesses. The existing Renewable Electricity Feed-in Tariff ...

1713. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will outline Ireland’s obligations under EU 2030 energy targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26436/16 asked on 16 Sep 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Paris Agreement was the major outcome of the 21st Conference of Parties held by under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 30 November to 12 December 2015. The Agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries and aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature incre...

814. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on whether keeping Moneypoint coal-fired power station open is compatible with meeting commitments to climate change mitigation targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22843/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 814 and 815 together.  
The Energy White Paper ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030’, published in December last, notes that Moneypoint, Ireland’s only coal burning power station, contributes to diversifying Ireland’s fuel mix and the provision of competitively priced electricity. The station is owned by the ESB and the White Paper recognises that key deci...

815. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to phase out coal-fired power; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22844/16 asked on 19 Jul 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 814 and 815 together.  
The Energy White Paper ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030’, published in December last, notes that Moneypoint, Ireland’s only coal burning power station, contributes to diversifying Ireland’s fuel mix and the provision of competitively priced electricity. The station is owned by the ESB and the White Paper recognises that key deci...

26. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans for connecting community energy projects into the national grid. (Question 21519/16 asked on 14 Jul 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): Ensuring the participation of communities in Ireland’s future energy transition is a key commitment in the 2015 Energy White Paper and the recent Programme for Government. National energy policy sets out a framework to encourage community participation in energy policy formation, the design of enabling measures and project supports. Access to the national grid for community designated renewable electricity projec...

30. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plan for the development of the indigenous energy sector, with specific reference to meeting the future needs of industry and the domestic market, and carbon reducing targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21544/16 asked on 14 Jul 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Programme for Government sets out that Ireland’s long-term interests are best supported by further decreasing our dependence on foreign fossil fuels through the continued development of indigenous renewable energy. This is underpinned by the Energy White Paper which sets out a long-term vision and a framework to guide Irish energy policy up to 2030 including a range of actions to support the indigenous energ...

728. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason wind energy enjoys preference over other more non-intrusive technologies, such as solar, even though the on-going public dislike and planning objections to wind energy, would appear to be preventing the Government from achieving its 2020 renewable targets, and will likely lead to large infraction fines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21047/16 asked on 12 Jul 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): The EU Renewable Energy Directive sets Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Provisional figures provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) show that in 2015, 9.2% of Ireland’s energy requirements were met from renewable sources. More specifically, the SEAI has calculated that 25.3% of electricity, 6.8% of heat and 5.7% of t...

267. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on facilitating access to the national grid for communities (details supplied). (Question 17563/16 asked on 22 Jun 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): Ensuring the participation of communities in Ireland’s future energy transition is a key commitment in the 2015 Energy White Paper and the recent Programme for Government. National energy policy sets out a framework to encourage community participation in energy policy formation, the design of enabling measures and project supports. Access to the national grid for community designated renewable electricity projec...

18. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his proposals to swiftly situate Ireland as a carbon dioxide-free energy user; the steps he will take to ensure Ireland no longer relies on imports of fossil fuels, on the future extraction of energy sources or on hydraulic fracturing in Ireland that would contribute to carbon dioxide levels rising, given that carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million and that the rate of increase is greater than at any previous time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16179/16 asked on 16 Jun 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Programme for Government includes a broad range of initiatives aimed at addressing climate change.  The Energy White Paper, Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030, published in December last, sets out a vision and a framework to guide Irish energy policy up to 2030, aimed at transforming Ireland’s fossil-fuel based energy sector into a clean, low carbon system by 2050.  The clear focus of...

265. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he examines energy requirements in respect of home heating and reducing dependency on fossil fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16646/16 asked on 16 Jun 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Energy White Paper, Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030, published in December last, sets out a vision and a framework to guide Irish energy policy up to 2030, aimed at transforming Ireland’s fossil-fuel based energy sector into a clean, low carbon system by 2050.  The White Paper envisages the increased use of electricity and bioenergy to heat homes and contains commitments to develop...

787. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the national policies in place with respect to solar panel farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5699/16 asked on 06 Apr 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): The White Paper on Energy Policy, published in December 2015 identifies the potential for solar technology in Ireland, including the development of solar photovoltaic (PV) farms. 
It is widely recognised that solar PV technology has become more cost competitive for electricity generation, not only compared with other renewables but also compared with conventional forms of generation. The deployment of solar PV in I...

788. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason for the delay in replacing existing local authority public lighting sodium lamps with high efficiency light emitting diode, LED, units to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5757/16 asked on 06 Apr 2016 - Energy Policy)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): Ireland has committed to improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 as part of our EU climate change obligations. The public sector has been set an even more challenging target of 33%. The strategic importance of public lighting for reaching this target was highlighted in the White Paper on Energy Policy, which I published in December last. Local Authorities are among the largest energy users in the public sector, ...

36. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if and how he will encourage semi-State companies such as Bord na Móna, Coillte and the Electricity Supply Board to promote renewable energy generation as part of the White Paper on energy policy. (Question 44985/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - Energy Policy)

Deputy Michael Colreavy: As I will not be going forward for re-election, it is safe to say I will not be asking questions of the Minister again in the Chamber. I take this opportunity to thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the Ceann Comhairle, the Minister, the Minister of State and the former Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, as well as Department staff for their co-operation.
 ...

42. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent by which he expects to reduce dependency on fuel or energy imports with particular reference to the utilisation of non-fossil fuels as a means of achieving national fuel security and reliability, and to reduce dependency on fossil fuels over the next ten years, by year; if this is in line with projections and requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44819/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - Energy Policy)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: The question attempts to focus on emerging needs in terms of renewable energy, in particular in the aftermath of the Paris conference on climate change and the extent to which it is possible to put in place a structure that will stand the country well in the future.
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