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Saturday, February 28, 2009

27/02/09: Minister Ryan announces incentives for micro-generation

Farmers and households to sell excess electricity back to national grid - First 4,000 will get guaranteed price of 19 cent a kWh - Plan will boost rural economy and reduce electricity costs Dublin, 26th February, 2009

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan today announced measures to encourage the on-site generation of electricity in homes and farms across Ireland. Among the measures is a guaranteed price of 19 cent per kilowatt hour of electricity produced. This competitive feed-in tariff will apply to the first 4,000 micro-generation installations countrywide over the next three years. Eligible installations include small scale wind, photovoltaic, hydro and combined heat and power. Traditionally, the electricity network was designed to accommodate the flow of electricity from large centralised plants to customers dispersed throughout the country. Micro-generation at local level now introduces two-way flows to the electricity system. Local generators will have the ability to be paid by the ESB for electricity that is surplus to their own requirements and export it back to the national grid.

The new support price is being introduced along with a number of other measures in the Government's micro-generation programme including:
- Connection: An "Inform and Fit" connection policy to be introduced by ESB Networks to reduce the length of time and complexity of the connection process. Sustainable Energy Ireland also has clear information explaining the connection process.
- Grant assistance for R & D: This pilot study includes grant assistance for 40% of the cost of 50 trial units (of up to 50kW) countrywide. Applications are being accepted by Sustainable Energy Ireland.
- Planning exemptions: The Department of Environment has made small scale generation from low-carbon sources exempt from planning permission. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources wil l continue to work with the Department of Environment on planning issues surrounding renewable energy installations.

Announcing the programme Minister Ryan said, "We are changing the rules and changing the nature of electricity generation in Ireland. Before you received your power from a central source and paid for it. Now you can generate for yourself and be paid for the excess you don't use. This type of on-site electricity generation will boost the rural economy. It will put more money into consumers' pockets. This type of long-term investment with a guaranteed return represents the best value for spending and lending. All our farms and houses can be micro-generators. We can use our abundant natural resources to bolster the economy, create green-collar jobs and reduce carbon emissions at the same time. Every year, we send €6 billion out of this country on fossil fuels. This type of generation will help reduce this dependence and this outflow of money. We do not want to be dependent on Russia or Saudi Arabia for our energy needs; we can supply our own."

For further information: Customers interested in installing microgeneration technologies and with technical queries contact ESB Networks at 1850 372 757. Further detail will be available from ESB Customer Supply shortly

Those interested in the small and micro-scale pilot field trials, contact: SEI at 01 8369080; or email
Customer Connection guide for micro generation are available at and
A full guide to connecting renewable and CHP electricity generators of all sizes to the network is available at
The export price will be available for up to 4000 micro generation units for a period three years. This suite of measures will then inform the development of a long-term micro generation programme.
ESB Customer Supply and ESB Networks will contribute 9 cents and 10 cents respectively towards this tariff. Domestic electricity users registered with ESB will receive a full tariff of 19c/kWh within limits set out above. Non-ESB customers will receive a 10c/kWh tariff for any excess electricity sold back to the grid.

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