New electricity microgeneration programme announced


Energy Minister, Eamon Ryan has announced a pilot grant scheme which will allow users to generate electricity for their own use.

Electricity will be generated via small-scale technologies such as wind turbines and solar power, with the potential to sell excess power back to suppliers. Grant support[1] to meet 50% of the initial start-up costs will be made available for the installation of microgeneration systems in approximately 50 trials to be conducted nationwide.

Speaking at the annual SEI Energy Show at the RDS, Minister Ryan said - "We are starting to make great strides with large-scale renewable energy, which will impact on power generation on a national level. Today, we focus on small-scale generation in commercial sites and domestic dwellings.”

With €2 million being provided in 2008 by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the programme will be administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland in conjunction with key stakeholders - including the Commission for Energy Regulation, ESB Networks and electricity suppliers. The scheme follows a change in regulations last year, allowing people to sell electricity back to the grid. It will provide the groundwork for consideration of a set feed-in tariff for electricity produced through microgeneration.

Welcoming the programme, Minister Ryan said - "This scheme will empower electricity users to take action. The change in regulations, last year, has cleared the way for Irish people to sell electricity back to the national grid. This - along with today’s announcement and the roll-out of smart meters - will ultimately mean that, everyday, in every home, people can use power in the most efficient manner possible.

"We know from international experience that microgeneration can provide a sustainable, reliable and affordable alternative to the traditional methods of power generation. It is time to provide such an alternative here.”

Full details of the scheme are set to be announced over the coming months.

[1] The grant aspect of the scheme will largely focus on commercial/organisational on-site generation in its initial phases. It will then concentrate on generation by individual householders.


1. SEI will announce full details of the field trials to be managed by them in the Summer. It will involve technologies such as small-scale wind and photovoltaics (PV) which have not previously had widespread application in the Irish market. Specific funding levels and qualification criteria remain to be finalised and will be announced in due course.

2. The programme will have a number of technical and economic aspects, including -

  • Preparation of options for a tariff for the export of electricity from small and microgenerators
  • Defining the requirements for qualification and certification of technologies
  • Defining necessary arrangements for qualification, certification and training of installers
  • Monitoring field trials of technologies
  • Economic studies of the medium and long-term market potential
  • Investigate impact of high concentrations of micro and small-scale generators on the electricity transmission system.