To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the review of the green paper on energy policy; the consultation process of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Martin Heydon.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 25th September, 2014.

Ref No:

36337/14 Proof: 295


Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White T.D.)

The Green Paper on Energy Policy in Ireland was published in May. The publication commenced a period of public consultation under which written contributions were sought by the end of July.

1,241 submissions were received. My Department has conducted an initial analysis of the valuable contributions made by interested parties, and the key issues raised in relation to each of the areas set out have been identified. Further engagement with stakeholders is ongoing and will continue over the coming months, firstly through seminars to be hosted by officials from my Department on all of the priorities set out in the Green Paper, to ensure that all of the issues identified in the submissions are fully understood. My Department is focussed on ensuring that the assumptions on which the final policy paper will be written are tested and accurate, so as to produce a dynamic and responsive evidence based framework which will facilitate us in steering an appropriate course as we seek to address sustainability, security and competitiveness challenges and opportunities.

Further engagement will be arranged in order to obtain views from as wide a spectrum as possible, including from consumers and local communities in addition to other key stakeholders. There is an absolute necessity for the final policy paper to set a balanced, robust and enabling framework for Ireland’s Energy transition.

At an event hosted by my Department on 24 September to launch the next phase of the policy development process, I announced that I will chair a Steering Group which will advise on the finalisation of the policy. John FitzGerald, Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Insitute, Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and Ms. Helen Donoghue, formerly of DG Energy at the European Commission, have accepted my invitation to participate on a Steering Group, together with officials from my Department.

Drafting of the policy paper will begin after the planned seminars are completed at the end of this year. The text of the policy paper will be progressed during the first half of 2015 with a view to publication of the final policy paper by September 2015. The new energy policy framework will be timely in that it will be guided by Ireland’s input to the EU’s 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy policies and the preparations for the UN’s COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Paris in December next year.