The Government has confirmed that a new micro-generation electricity support scheme is in development.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has opened a public consultation for the new scheme, which will allow citizens, farmers, business owners and community organisations to sell surplus electricity to the grid.
The aim of this consultation is to gather feedback on aspects of the proposed scheme to help inform the delivery of the scheme.
What is micro-generation?
Micro-generation is defined as small-scale generation technologies, including micro-solar PV, micro-hydro, micro-wind and micro-renewable CHP with a maximum electrical output of 50kW.
While there is support for larger-scale solar and wind farms, there is currently no support scheme in place for this range of micro-generation technologies.
A new micro-generation support scheme is being designed to allow citizens and communities to generate their own renewable electricity, and sell the excess to the national grid. #HaveYourSay on the scheme: https://t.co/BLEZL4xfVn #ClimateActionIRL#Microgeneration pic.twitter.com/Awy4zwPtAq— Dept. Environment, Climate and Communications (@Dept_ECC) January 14, 2021
The new scheme will support the deployment of new micro-generators, deliver a route to market for citizens and communities to generate their own renewable electricity and receive a fair price when they sell the excess into the grid.
The news will be welcomed by farmers who have long argued for support for the micro-generation of electricity.
The news was also welcomed by industry.
Chair of the Micro Renewable Energy Federation Pat Smith broadly welcomed the imminent introduction of the scheme, but said that it must work effectively.
“For farmers and SMEs who have available roof space and grid access, there needs to be a renewable energy feed-in tariff that makes it economic to export to the grid and payback on the investments made should be five years or less,” Smith said.
He also welcomed the positive approach from ESB Networks, which has said there was no reason from a grid perspective to restrict the expansion of micro-generation of renewable power.
There are a number of grant schemes available that support the installation of renewable technologies, particularly solar PV, for self-consumption.
These include the SEAI Domestic Solar PV Scheme and Better Energy Communities Scheme, plus TAMS II operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The new micro-generation electricity support scheme is set to complement this existing grant aid.
The closing date for submissions is 5.30pm on Thursday 18 February 2021.
Submissions should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on details on the new micro-generation scheme, read next week’s Irish Farmers Journal.