The opportunity for small scale micro-generation energy projects, benefiting, home owners, community groups and small businesses, to generate a lot more of Ireland’s energy requirement may be lost due to a lack of urgency in the protracted review that the Government is overseeing, according to Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan.
He was commenting after raising the issue with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment in the Dáil recently during priority questions.
“While a review is necessary to make progress on issues such as reforming network charges and developing fair tariffs for exported electricity, it cannot be allowed to slow down key decisions regarding to rolling out more opportunities for people and farms to get involved in this important new industry.
“To date there have been over 3,000 expressions of interest, yet only 200 actively sought a rebate. The Minister in his reply to me stated that the purpose of the review is to discover inefficiencies in the scheme. However, we have had many pilot schemes in the past so it shouldn’t take that long to identify them and amend the proposed final scheme,” he said.
NEED TO CATCH UP
Deputy Moynihan continued, “I am very worried that progress will be stalled while the review and analysis is taking place. We cannot afford any further delays.
“When it comes to micro-generation, simply moving from crawling to walking speed is no longer good enough. We need to start running to catch up with other countries that are ahead of Ireland in terms of diversifying its energy base.
“We need to seek out ways of expanding opportunities for micro-generation. Fianna Fáil favours a more ambitious definition of community to allow more people get involved. Micro-generation should be available to community centres and sports clubs to help them cut their bills, and potentially as a revenue-raising mechanism.
“I’ve asked the Minister to take on-board my suggestions and to ensure that the review is concluded as quickly as possible. There is no time to waste if we are to become more energy-self-sufficient,” concluded Mr Moynihan.