Taoiseach promises answers on collapsed € 10million electricity deal as Labor leader asks if lights will stay on this winter
LE Taoiseach has vowed to gather details of an electricity contract that collapsed after Labor leader Alan Kelly asked a public body to pay an additional â¬ 10million for a tender that did not ‘has not been launched.
icheÃ¡l Martin resisted a request from Mr Kelly to assure the public that the lights would stay on this winter.
He warned that a “perfect storm” was brewing over the energy supply and predicted that it could be “the rock you will perish on.”
Mr Kelly asked how 10 million euros “was paid by Eirgrid to ESB as a down payment” for the emergency production that had not taken place.
âHow did that happen? Was he sanctioned by the minister and where is the money now? He asked.
He said he had serious concerns about the energy supply, adding: âOver a decade ago bad politics, terrible politics and lack of regulation and banking destroyed this country.
âI am deeply concerned with the way our energy market has been regulated over the past few years. “
He said there had been seven amber alerts in the system on a single day in September and that the Taoiseach “could not respond” the following month when asked to guarantee that the lights would be kept on, so he asked the same question again.
One of the concerns was that Eirgrid last May launched a call for 200 megawatts of emergency electricity, under the direction of the Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU).
âIt was going to cost 110 million euros. The plan called for these emergency gas operators to be in place for 22 weeks. The contract was awarded to ESB, but Eirgrid failed the tender, âhe alleged under DÃ¡il privilege.
âAnother company, Tynagh Energy, threatened to take the matter to the High Court, arguing that Eirgrid’s deployment process was anti-competitive. The plan was therefore abandoned, âhe said.
“We need to find more information on this,” he said, adding that another tender is currently being issued for the same power.
Meanwhile, offshore wind production was being held up by delays in marine area planning, meaning solar farms cannot connect to the grid.
Mr Kelly asked if the 10 million euros had been repaid to Eirgrid and how much comfort the Taoiseach could bring to renewable energy projects like solar and offshore that the regulatory system would fit the target.
The Taoiseach said there is a regulatory framework governing the provision of a secure supply of electricity. The CRU was in charge and the government no longer really had the legal powers to âintervene directly and do what it wants in terms of energy marketsâ.
The government had been informed of the short to medium term risk to the electricity supply and that there was “an increased likelihood of more frequent system emergencies with the potential for some electricity customers to lose electricity. “if no action is taken,” he said. . The ministry and the minister worked in close collaboration with the CRU and Eirgrid to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue, he said, but it was an international issue.
He promised to “provide all the information you need” about the abandoned tender, warning: “I will not jump to conclusions – let’s wait for full and transparent information.”
He added: “We are doing everything we can to ensure security of supply, but not just this winter, for more criticism for next winter and winters beyond.”
Ultimately, fossil fuels would not be used for power generation, but until then gas-fired power plants would be needed as part of the transition.
Mr Kelly, however, claimed that too many companies were pulling out of Ireland because “the regulations were not working” which could also create huge prices. “Ordinary working families are going to pay their electricity bills because of this laissez-faire attitude.”