Thursday, 30 November 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
100. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his policy in regard to gas, electricity, diesel and petrol prices here, in view of the fact that the Government is a beneficiary in terms of VAT from the higher prices; if his attention has been drawn to the impact of such a policy on transport, manufacturing and domestic costs; his proposals to encourage the production of alternative energy by way of alleviation of such costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41039/06]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. N. Dempsey): I have no function in relation to the imposition of VAT on fuels or gas and electricity tariffs. This is a matter for the Minister for Finance. The Irish oil market is fully privatised and deregulated. Oil prices in Ireland are not controlled outside of the level of taxation levied by the Minister for Finance. In these circumstances neither I, nor indeed any regulatory body, has any function in the matter of petrol or diesel prices.
As regards the promotion of alternative energy, just last week I awarded sixteen projects excise relief over a five year period on biofuels, valued at over €200m. The programme builds on a pilot initiative rolled out in 2005, in which eight biofuels project were granted excise relief over a two-year period. Earlier this year I launched the Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff (REFIT) programme. REFIT allows project developers to negotiate long term fixed price contracts in the wholesale electricity market. The costs of REFIT are supported through the operation of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy.
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