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Ireland Launches Feed In Tariff


by Energy Matters

Ireland launches feed in tariff
The concept of feed in tariffs to stimulate uptake of renewable energy is certainly catching on with increasing numbers of countries launching schemes. 

Recently, Ireland announced a net feed in tariff scheme where owners of small scale wind, solar, hydro and combined heat and power systems will be paid AUD$ 0.36 per kilowatt on surplus electricity generated and exported to the Ireland's main grid up to 3,000kWh exported annually, then AUD$ 0.19 per kilowatt hour thereafter.

Even though a net feed in tariff is considered a poor cousin to a gross model, whereby all electricity generated is eligible for payment, and the rate is far below some other countries, the Irish scheme is expected to be popular given other government assistance available.

Ireland's net feed in tariff program is also limited to the first 4,000 micro-generation installations countrywide over the next three years, but if the recent examples of programs in Spain, Florida and Ontario, Canada are anything to go by; those slots could be filled well before the program's official end as governments consistently underestimate demand.

Germany was the first country to introduce a feed in tariff for grid connect solar power back in 1991. After the program was enhanced in 2000 with higher premiums paid and a switch to a gross model, between 2000 and 2005 the quantity of electricity fed into the grid more than doubled; with a seven-fold increase in installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity . The current German program is considered "best practice" for the successful implementation of feed in tariff programs.

Australia currently has a fractured feed in tariff system, with each state implementing it's own program ranging from a proposed time limited credit in Victoria that's been heavily criticised, through to the ACT's gross solar feed in tariff which pays 50.5c per kilowatt hour, guaranteed for 20 years.



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