Microgeneration and Domestic Opportunities
- What is meant by Micro Generation?
- How do I get connected to the Grid?
- Roughly how much should I expect to pay for a domestic (Micro Generation) turbine?
- What is smart metering and how does it work?
- Is smart metering currently available in Ireland?
- What are the current regulations regarding domestic development? Could I put a turbine in my garden or on the roof of my house?
- What are the possibilities for community development? Are there any regulations?
- Are there export tariffs available
Micro Generation has been described as the generation of zero or low-carbon heat and power by individuals, small businesses and communities to meet their own needs. Micro Generation is dominated by three areas, namely solar, wind, hydroelectric power, the latter two dependent on site location for feasibility.
In terms of wind energy, many people would like to be able to install a small wind turbine beside their house or business that would help offset some of their energy costs and help reduce their carbon footprint.
For further details on suppliers of Micro Generation equipment see our Member Services Directory.
Grid connection is usually a straightforward process and while all grid connections must be licensed, this is usually done/obtained by the supplier of the generation equipment.
Prospective generators should be aware, however, that any supplier should be able to provide a declaration of conformity to European Standard EN50438. This will ensure that the equipment purchased meets the required legal standard.
Prices for domestic Micro Generation wind turbines vary from supplier to supplier. However when purchasing a Micro Generation unit, the buyer should be concerned with the energy output of the turbine rather then the nominal price.
Given that the wind resource is adequete, prospective micro generators should be aware the energy output from the turbine is primarily determined by the blade set energy values rather than the generator size.
As such it is advisable that a prospective generator bases their decision on a price per kilowatt(kW) and maximum output basis rather than simple nominal price comparison
Industry sources estimate that the average price per kW installed for a domestic Micro Generation turbine is in the region of €2,000
A smart meter is an electronic device that can measure the consumption of energy, record and store more information that a conventional meter and provide real time information to the customer on usage and costs. The benefits of smart metering systems are recognised internationally.
The CER, working closely with the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (DCENR), established Phase 1 of the Smart Metering Programme in late 2007. The objective was to conduct a nationally representative smart metering trial in order to assess the costs and benefits of smart meters and to inform decisions relating to the full rollout of an optimally designed universal National Smart Metering Programme.
More information can be found on the CER website.
No. In Nov 2007 the Minister for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources announced plans for the roll out of smart metering across the country over the following five years. Currently the process is still in the planning stage. The November release may be read here
In terms of the more specific plans the CER released an information paper on the plans for the next stage of the implementation process. This document may be viewed here
What are the current regulations regarding domestic development? Could I put a turbine in my garden or on the roof of my house?
On February 28 2007, the Planning and Development Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 83 of 2007) governing the planning exemptions for domestic micro-renewable technologies came into effect. The regulations state the conditions and limitations attached to exemption from planning of the erection of a wind turbine within the curtailage of a house. The regulations that the turbine (maximum height of 13 metres) cannot be attached to the dwelling however there is no stipulation as to how far it must be sited from the dwelling. The citing conditions are mostly related to ensuring the turbine is sited a safe distance from boundaries and overhead wires etc..
On July 02, 2008, the Planning and Development Regulations 2008 (S.I No.235 of 2008) governing the planning exemptions for micro-renewable technologies for commercial premises came into effect, stating similar conditions and limitations with the most notable difference from the domestic condition being the provision for a maximum turbine height of 20 metres.
PLEASE NOTE: All planning exemptions are subject to the provisions of Article 9 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001. Developers are advised to read these provisions in full.
In terms of connecting to the grid, the current regulations and arrangements governing the connection of micro generators to the network are covered on the ESB networks website and may be viewed here.
It should be noted however that these regulations are likely to change with the eventual roll out of smart metering.
Currently there are no special regulations governing a community development. It is possible that a community could come to an agreement over the installment of a micro generation unit in their area, however it would still have to meet the planning exemption guidelines. (see above)
Alternatively, for those turbines over 13 metres the community would have to go through the same steps and procedures that any private developer would have to go through in order to build a small or even single turbine wind farm.
Yes, the first stage of tariffs were introduced in February and March 2009, a combination of a market feed in tariff of 9c (ESBCS) and a carbon tariff of 10c (ESBN) will pay up to 19c for every exported unit of electricity for a micro generator, (terms & conditions apply). It is currently limited to domestic electricity accounts and the wind turbine on a single phase connection must comply with EN50438, (less than 25 amps – 5.75kw rated) and (less than 16 amps on 3 phase – 11kw rated).