A framework has been published to allow farmers to sell excess electricity generated on their lands back to the national grid.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has outlined interim arrangements to ensure that consumers, including those with microgeneration installed, are paid at market rates, for surplus electricity they export to the grid.
Currently, the vast majority of electricity consumers with microgeneration installed do not receive a payment for surplus electricity exported to the grid from their homes or premises.
The CRU said its decision paper on the Clean Export Guarantee (CEG) payment will ensure that consumers are getting a fair payment for their exported excess electricity.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has said those who generate less than 400kW will be eligible for the CEG, which is expected to be available from January or February 2022.
The Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS), which will cover domestic, agricultural, commercial and school installations up to 50kW, will go to government shortly.
It is expected to be available for entry over next summer.
Over 20,000 people who already have renewable electricity generation installed will be able to benefit from these payments.
The CRU decision will also give a market value payment for those who install renewable electricity generation in the future.
The interim arrangement is being put in place by the CRU until the National Smart Metering Programme is fully rolled out in 2025.
It will provide payment to customers based primarily on export readings from smart metres.
For those customers who do not have a smart metre installed yet, remuneration will be based on an estimate, called a deemed quantity, of the electricity which they are deemed to export.
The CRU outlined the eligibility criteria for payment for exported electricity:
- The renewables self-consumer must be exporting electricity to the network;
- They must have installed microgeneration and must have informed ESB Networks of their intention to install microgeneration using the NC6 form;
- If they are eligible for a smart metre installation as part of the National Smart Metre Programme, they must have a smart metre installed to measure their exported electricity;
- If they are not eligible for smart metre installation, they will be eligible for remuneration based on a deemed export calculation.
The CRU has decided on a floor price of zero euro cents/kWh.
However, it said depending on the tariffs set by suppliers in the first 12 months, it may reconsider whether a floor is appropriate.
The CRU said consumers will be able to export up to 35% of their electricity production capacity back to the grid.
The CRU said payments will begin from the date of the enactment of the necessary CEG legislation by government for all eligible customers.
It said that ESB Networks will provide data to microgeneration consumers on export quantities, on a periodic basis.
The CRU said it is not setting a date or deadline for the timing of the first payment.
Suppliers will be able to access the export data of their registered consumers from ESB Networks by the end of June 2022.
The CRU said people can expect an initial payment or credit from their supplier “within a reasonable time thereafter”.
During the interim arrangements, import and export will be provided by a single supplier.
The CRU said it recognised concerns around the inability of consumers to choose separate import and export suppliers, but it said this is the most practicable solution for the interim arrangement.
Consumers will not be able to sell their exported electricity to a third party.
The CRU said it fully expects suppliers to ensure that back-payments are paid to eligible consumers for exported electricity from the first day the CEG legislation is enacted or from when they have microgeneration installed.
That back-payment may be offered by suppliers as credit to a customer’s account.
The CRU said will carry out a review of the arrangements for the CEG after one year of operational data is available for analysis