• Ireland has worked out a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) through which it plans to introduce competitive auctions
  • It aims to spread out renewable energy capacity across multiple auctions, say every two years
  • Through the scheme it will incentivize renewable energy generation and inch closer to its national as well as EU target to increase the share of renewables
  • Public comments and suggestions can be submitted by November 3, 2017
  • Recently, a 420 kW commercial solar rooftop system was installed on the premises of Butlers Chocolate in Dublin

The Irish Ministry of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has invited public consultation on the design of a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), which will be the basis to introduce competitive bidding for renewable energy projects.

The plan is to spread the total amount of additional renewable energy capacity required across multiple auctions, ‘for example every two years will allow for greater budgetary control’. With this step, the government wants to drive down costs.

Primary objective of the new scheme is to incentivize the introduction of sufficient renewable energy generation to deliver national and European Union (EU) targets. The scheme is also aimed at helping Ireland to achieve diversification of its renewable technology mix and strengthening the security of energy supply, among other targets. Ireland’s share of renewables in gross final energy consumption was 9.2% in 2015, while its binding EU target is 16% by 2020. If the country is not speeding up its efforts, it will miss the EU 2020 targets. The share of power generated by renewables was 25.2% in 2015, while Ireland targets 40% of of its electricity coming from by renewables by 2020.

However, the government has kept away from setting a renewable energy generation target under the RESS. The consultation report states, “The RESS is being developed as a scheme that can support a range of ambitions. This includes the potential objective of maintaining the target 2020 level of 40% RES-E out to 2030 as the baseline ambition. Further, more ambitious potential objectives of 45%, 50% and 55% are also examined. The emerging scheme design allows the Government to control both the costs and the level of RES-E ambition. It is highly flexible and can respond to market driven outcomes and take advantage of maturing technologies.”

Last date to submit comments and suggestions on the scheme is November 3, 2017. Details about RESS are available on the website of ministry.

While there have been big hopes on the PV potential of the Irish market for 2017, rather little has happened so far. However, recently, Butlers Chocolates in Ireland had a 420 kW rooftop solar power system installed on its chocolate production facility at its headquarters in Dublin. Hanwha Q Cells provided 1,590 of its Q PRO G4 solar modules for the system that was installed by Gaelectric Energy Solutions DAC. The demonstration project is Gaelectric’s first “behind the meter” installation, the energy will be used exclusively to power Butlers Chocolates production facility.