Monday 10 December 2018

'Low level of ambition' will delay roll-out of clean power

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Moving Ireland to greener power generation will slow over the coming years due to a "low level of ambition" from the Government.

A new report from the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) says that despite public perception, renewables are not adding to customer bills, and that rolling out more wind, solar and other forms of green energy is likely to lower prices.

The Power Transfer 2030 report said deployment of wind energy had been "the biggest success story" of Ireland's decarbonisation so far, with some 26pc of electricity generated last year coming from this source.

But a focus on capping the amount consumers pay to subsidise green energy, called the public service obligation (PSO), meant that the pace of power system decarbonisation would slacken, it added.

The PSO is levied on customer bills and funds the cost of supporting renewable energy and that generated from peat-fired plants.

"The pace of power system decarbonisation is likely to be slow over the coming decade because of an over-emphasis on controlling the PSO levy," it said.

"The increase in PSO required for renewables has not resulted in escalating electricity bills up to now, as is often assumed, and a greater pace of renewables deployment could in fact result in lower electricity prices by 2030."

This is because renewables reduce the wholesale price of electricity, but these reductions have been cancelled out by increases in the PSO. Modelling suggests that greater levels of renewable deployment would lead to lower costs, even in the PSO increases, it added.

It also said there needed to be a greater role for community-owned projects, including a guaranteed payment for power to encourage people to invest.

Irish Independent

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