Ireland okays auction-based renewables support scheme

Knockaneden wind farm, Ireland. Photo by: Mainstream Renewable Power.

July 25 (Renewables Now) - The Irish government approved on Tuesday the country’s new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) that envisages holding competitive auctions at frequent intervals.

The first auction is scheduled for next year and its focus will be on shovel-ready projects. The government noted it will not be auctioning all the capacity required to meet its targets at once to avoid “locking in” higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme. The exact capacity to be procured in each auction round will be determined based on detailed analysis of project supply and demand.

Denis Naughten, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, stated that communities are central to the design of the new scheme as they will get the chance to invest in and take ownership of a portion of the renewable energy projects in their local area.

“The use of certain 'levers', such as near term delivery dates and 'single technology caps', will accelerate the broadening of the renewable technology mix, particularly in light of falling costs for a number of renewable technologies,” minister Naughten pointed out.

The RESS roadmap will provide pathways for developers of renewables, including offshore wind projects.

The announcement also mentions that the development of the new RESS included an in-depth study of international best practice, across Denmark, Germany, Canada and Scotland. The scheme is designed to help achieve national and EU-wide renewables and decarbonisation targets out to 2030. It will provide for a renewable electricity (RES-E) ambition for Ireland of up to 55% by the same year. The country’s current RES-E target is 40% by 2020.

Now that the RESS has been cleared by the Cabinet, minister Naughten will seek EU State Aid approval, he noted.

Pleased to announce that I secured Cabinet approval today for a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. Communities will be central to it #RESS @IFAmedia @Dept_CCAE @merrionstreet @IWEA @IrishSolarNRG @SEAI_ie @farmersjournal @AgrilandIreland pic.twitter.com/0cWG7ngSmQ

— Denis Naughten (@DenisNaughten) July 24, 2018

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