The Environmental Protection Agency has announced its second draft allocation plan for the amount of carbon dioxide that can be generated by leading Irish companies.

The scheme recognises the increasing role of renewable energy in the electricity market.

With more traditional producers facing lower greenhouse gas allowances and therefore additional expenses, it is thought some of these costs could, eventually, be passed on to the consumer.

Under the Kyoto protocol, there is a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be generated by the top 100 Irish industries.

The EPA decides which companies get what allowances and it has just produced its draft second national allocation plan.

The EPA has said it wants to recognise the increasing role of renewal energy in the electricity market.

The mechanism, in part, will be to give a lower allocation to the old power generation sector as well as a doubling of penalties for any failures to reach targets.

The ESB has spent €300 million making the Moneypoint plant more environmentally friendly but it and the other generators will still face additional costs due to the new plan.

Ultimately, the Commission for Energy Regulation will have to decide if these additional costs are passed on to the consumer, but the clear expectation is that some of them will.