- Ireland has opened the auction round of its RESS 2 round seeking submissions from qualified bidders
- It seeks to develop 1,000 GWh to 3,500 GWh capacity under this round, mainly driven by solar
- The country has also brought online 8 MW Millevale Solar Farm of Neoen calling it Ireland’s 1st grid scale solar project commissioned under RESS 1
The pre-qualification round for RESS 2 opened on December 7, 2021 and on April 29, 2022 the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) opened the auction process.
It is now accepting submissions from qualified bidders with the last date of submission being May 9, 2022. Provisional auction results will be declared on May 17, 2022 followed by final results on June 14, 2022. Details about this round are available on state owned electricity transmission operator EirGrid’s website.
“It is anticipated that RESS 2 will deliver a significant increase in the proportion of renewable generation delivered by solar – by the end of 2024,” stated the department. “The solar capacity secured under RESS 2 is expected to contribute significantly, in the first half of the decade, towards our ambitions to connect up to 2.5GW of solar to the electricity system by 2030.”
Here’s a little background to this. Through its auction based RESS scheme, Ireland provides a guaranteed price for electricity from selected renewable energy projects. Under RESS 1, solar secured a weighted average bid price of €72.92 per MWh with almost 600 MW capacity.
For RESS 2, the government has removed the standalone preference category for solar which was there in the previous round, and replaced it with Evaluation Correction Factor (ECF). “The ECF is intended to reflect the relative benefits that each type of technology (and the diversity that they bring) has on system costs,” explained the department.
Ireland aims to lower its overall GHG emissions by 2030 and become net zero by 2050 for which it needs to have renewables providing 80% of its electricity by 2030. This is designed to come from up to 8 GW onshore wind, 5 GW offshore wind and up to 2.5 GW solar PV capacity.
The plan is to hold at least 5 renewable energy auctions between 2020 and 2025 of which RESS 1 is already concluded, and RESS 2 is ongoing.
Ukraine war increases pace
Like any other European nation that’s not energy self-sufficient yet, Ireland too sees the Russian invasion of Ukraine as underpinning the importance of ‘accelerating the switch to indigenous, renewable sources of energy and reducing Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuels’. It will also help the country reduce its exposure to complex supply chains and supply shocks.
8 MW solar project from RESS 1
On the occasion, the DECC Minister Eamon Ryan formally opened the country’s 1st grid scale solar project to connect to the national grid under RESS. French renewables company Neoen has energized 8 MW Millevale Solar Farm near Ashford in Co. Wicklow. It is equipped with 33,600 solar modules spread on 25 hectares of land.
“This is the first of many solar projects expected to energize under the RESS this year. It’s a key starting point on our journey, under the Climate Action Plan, to install up to 2.5GW of solar energy on the electricity system by 2030,” said Ryan.