New 'micro' plan offers macro energy savings

Thursday 26 February 2009 20.24
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Electricity generator - Scheme encourages people to generate own energy
Electricity generator - Scheme encourages people to generate own energy
Minister Eamon Ryan - Announced new programme today
Minister Eamon Ryan - Announced new programme today

A new Government programme seeks to reverse the roles between you and your electricity provider.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan introduced new financial incentives today to encourage people to generate their own electricity.

Micro-generators allow individuals, particularly farmers, to not only produce their own electricity, but also sell any surplus back to ESB.

The Minister is guaranteeing a sale price of 19c per kilowatt hour to the first 4,000 micro-generation installations in Ireland over the next three years.

That is more than twice the price offered to conventional generators.

Eligible installations include small scale wind, photovoltaic, hydro and combined heat and power.

However, a turbine can cost, depending on size, between €17-33,000.

Farmers say a sale price and improved capital allowances are needed, but agree 'micro' is the way to go.

One outstanding problem is speedily connecting micro-turbines to the grid.

The Government's new programme address that issue with its 'Inform and Fit' connection policy to be introduced by ESB Networks that will reduce the length of time and complexity of the connection process.

The programme also includes 40% grant assistance of the cost of 50 trial units (applications are being accepted by Sustainable Energy Ireland) and a planning exemption for small scale generators.