Business Irish

Monday 19 August 2019

State 'hostile' to power sell-back proposals

The move has been criticised by environmental groups as 'undermining' efforts to allow consumers a more active role in generating energy. Stock Image
The move has been criticised by environmental groups as 'undermining' efforts to allow consumers a more active role in generating energy. Stock Image
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

The Government is opposing EU plans to give households that generate electricity a minimum price for the power they sell back to the national grid.

Official documents setting out the State's position on the EU's Clean Energy Package also reveal the Government does not want to give priority for financial supports to community energy projects, saying it cannot support giving "more favourable conditions" to one type of producer over another.

The move has been criticised by environmental groups as "undermining" efforts to allow consumers a more active role in generating energy.

It also appears contrary to recommendations from the Citizens' Assembly, which said those selling power back to the grid should receive "at least" the wholesale price, and that community energy projects should be facilitated.

The State is opposed to a proposal that so-called 'prosumers', or those selling excess power back to the grid, are paid at least the market value of the electricity, saying that each member state should design its own support schemes.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the State appeared to be taking an "outright hostile" approach, and was seeking to undermine ambitious action on climate change.

The Department of Communications said it was "broadly supportive" of proposals around community energy projects and those seeking to sell power to the grid, but was seeking "flexibility" around designing supports. It added it had also sought clarity around other aspects of the renewable energy directive, including those around community-owned energy projects.

“Ireland has sought clarity on the seeming obligation for member states, in designing support schemes, to ensure more favourable conditions for one category of producer over another,” it said.

The text “allow them to compete on equal footing” is too vague an obligation to be agreed to in a directive.  Ireland is seeking at a minimum that the word ‘shall’ is changed to ‘may’,” it added.

Irish Independent

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