Other Questions. - Electricity Generation.

Tuesday, 16 May 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 519 No. 2

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  61.  Mr. Sargent  Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent   asked the Minister for Public Enterprise  Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke   if consideration has been given to replacing the peat-fired power station in Ferbane, County Offaly, with a cleaner and more sustainably fuelled wood-fired power station, in view of the potential for growing the fuel locally as copiced short rotation forestry which could stimulate the rural economy and absorb resulting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. [10387/00]

Mr. Jacob: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Previous studies have shown that the economics of using rapid rotation forestry for electricity generation are extremely poor, rendering the cost of such electricity very high. The Renewable Energy Strategy Group is to consider afresh the question of all other forms of renewable energy after it has completed its work on wind energy.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  How does the Minister of State see this impacting on the Government's COf8>2 abatement strategy?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is a separate question.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  This is the whole point. The original factory, as one commentator said, was seen as a COf8>2 factory. Anything that can impact positively on that is surely a good thing in terms of our COf8>2 abatement strategy.

Mr. Jacob: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Deputy Dempsey, will soon publish his paper on the abatement strategy. That is expected to complement the Green Paper published some time ago, the objectives of which are being met. The aim of those documents will be to work towards meeting our targets and what we signed up to at Kyoto.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  In relation to Ferbane station, will the Minister of State confirm it is not now Government policy to go ahead with the £16 million refurbishment programme agreed by the last Government and that it is Government policy to [237] close down every one of the five electricity generating stations in the country?

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On the issue of absorbing the resulting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, will the Minister of State confirm that trees do that excellent work while they are alive? When they are cut down and burned or allowed to rot, the carbon dioxide is readmitted into the atmosphere so that there is no net gain in terms of carbon dioxide in using timber.

Mr. Jacob: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  My understanding of the situation is the same as that outlined by Deputy Stagg. Other countries which have studied this issue have arrived at the same conclusions. The matter referred to by Deputy Yates is an extension of the question. If the Deputy wishes to table an appropriate question we would be delighted to answer it.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  To close down every one of the five peat burning stations.

Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.


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