ESB ends scheme for homeowners who want to sell power
HOMEOWNERS producing power from small turbines or solar panels will no longer be able to sell their excess energy back to the grid.
The ESB has ended a pilot scheme which allowed householders to receive 9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) of power produced, prompting complaints that consumers would lose out on cheap power.
One kWh will run an electric cooker for 17 minutes, or a desktop PC for around eight hours.
The ESB said the microgeneration scheme was a pilot project launched in 2009, and would remain in place until the end of next year.
However, new entrants would not be accepted from December 31 next.
The move comes as the company announced it has secured a €100m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund upgrades of the electricity network in the south east to allow more renewables on to the system.
The decision to end the micro-generation scheme was criticised by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
Mr Ryan said a micro-generation should be encouraged, and opened to industry with wind turbines, solar panels and hydro systems.
All power companies in the market should also be required to have a so-called feed-in tariff for renewable energy.
"The ESB is taking political signals from the Government that the energy revolution isn't going to happen here," he said.
"It's basically saying we don't want people producing power. Half of the new power produced in Germany is from community groups and people producing energy.
"We were in the position of being able to benefit from the lower cost technologies that other more expensive European support schemes had delivered, without incurring a cost for Irish consumers.
"However, by failing to have any means of selling power back to the grid, we are now killing a growing new industry here at birth."
The ESB said that Electric Ireland was the only supplier to have such a scheme and it had run for five years.