- Ireland has approved the first RESS auction scheme under Climate Action Plan, now subject to EU State Aid Approval
- It plans to launch a minimum of four and a maximum of five auctions starting with RESS 1 in December 2019 for project award in June 2020 and projects to come online within next year
- A separate category for solar has been included for the RESS auction scheme aimed to represent around 10% of the overall auction
- Community led category for up to 30 GWh capacity will be eligible participate in RESS 2 with up to 10% capacity reserved
The Government of Ireland has approved the country’s first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction under the Climate Action Plan that puts it on path to achieving 70% renewable energy in the total energy mix by 2030. The scheme is subject to European Union (EU) State Aid Approval.
The Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) shared details of the auction scheme under which renewable energy projects will be invited to bid for capacity and win a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.
It envisages a ‘minimum’ of four auctions to take place between 2020 and 2027 but the frequency of the auctions will depend on the renewable energy project supply pipeline.
Under the first RESS (RESS I), the government plans to procure at least 1,000 GWh and in any case less than 3,000 GWh. The procurement process will be launched in December 2019 and complete in June 2020. Projects awarded under RESS 1 will be required to be grid connected within 2020 to enable the country closing the gap on the expected shortfall to its 2020 RES binding targets. It will be open to solar PV, onshore and offshore wind and bioenergy technologies.
Tentative auction road map
As per a tentative potential RESS auction roadmap shared, RESS 1 will be launched in 2019 followed by a 3,000 GWh auction process for RESS 2 in 2020, by 3,000 GWh RESS 3 in 2021, 4,000 GWh RESS 4 in 2023 and a possible 2,500 GWh RESS 5 in 2025. The indicative roadmap is expected to give ‘clarity and confidence to the industry’ and lead to ‘high realisation rate of project delivery’.
While the scheme will be open to a range of technologies to broaden and enhance security of energy supply, the government has included a separate category for solar aimed to represent around 10% of the overall auction. This is subject to state approval, said the DCCAE.
There is provision for another community led category within the auction to ensure state approval for up to 30 GWh capacity. These projects will be allowed to participate in RESS 2 with up to 10% capacity reserved.
Developers will need to contribute €2 per MWh to a Community Benefit Fund every year adding up to a total of €6 million for communities living in close proximity to renewable projects annually.
“Ireland is currently 86% reliant on fossil fuel. We must radically reduce this dependence and make the transition to cleaner, more renewable energy,” said Minister Richard Burton. “We are exiting from peat and coal to generate electricity and moving to clean, renewable sources of power, like wind and solar. The Renewable Energy Support Scheme is a flagship Government policy designed to deliver on our commitments to decarbonise our electricity grid, harness our natural resources and bring renewable energy into the heart of our communities.”
Details about the auction scheme is available on the website of DCCAE.
The RESS auction scheme had been under planning since September 2017 when the government sought public feedback on the draft proposal (see Ireland Heading Auction Way).