- Government approves key design features of the second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 2) auction
- Significant volume of new renewable electricity generation expected to be procured
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, T.D., today announced details of the second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 2) auction, which has received Government approval.
Delivery of the second RESS auction is one of the key actions to be set out in Climate Action Plan 2021, which will be launched by the Government shortly. Climate Action Plan 2021 will set out targets, measures and actions across every sector to ensure that we meet our commitments under the new climate action legislative framework.
The goal of up to 80% of our electricity from renewable generation by the end of the decade will contribute to Ireland's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets by substituting primarily wind and solar electricity generation for fossil fuel electricity generation, as well as displacing emissions in other sectors, for example, through the electrification of car transport and residential heat.
Minister Ryan said:
“Today, I am announcing the details of the second auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. Ireland remains heavily reliant on fossil fuel. We must radically reduce this dependence and make the transition to cleaner, indigenous renewable energy. Increased renewable energy will insulate Ireland from the volatility of international gas and carbon prices, which are near an all-time high.
“We are exiting from generating electricity from peat and coal and moving to clean, renewable sources of power, like wind and solar. RESS is one of the primary policies set out in the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan to address Ireland’s climate challenges over the coming years.
“The RESS programme and the launch of the second onshore auction will be a major step in meeting the Government’s ambition of reducing emissions by 51% by 2030 and delivering up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030. The RESS auctions have been 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.”
The RESS is an auction-based scheme, which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate. The Government has agreed the proposed elements of the Scheme, which are consistent with the state aid approval for RESS auctions through to 2025.
- Broadly similar design to RESS 1: The structure of first auction was largely supported by stakeholders and the key design principles from RESS 1 have been maintained to ensure high project delivery rates and competitive outcomes.
- Increasing Technology Diversity: The Scheme will be open to a range of technologies, including provisions to couple renewables plus storage capability at project sites. This will broaden the renewable energy mix and enhance security of supply.
- Community-led category: In February 2021, the Minister announced that that all projects applying to the community category in future RESS auctions must be 100% community owned. This is to ensure that communities will be able to retain all the benefits that are associated with generating their own electricity.
- Community Participation: The obligatory Community Benefit Fund (CBF) scheme established in RESS 1 has been maintained. The CBFs will generate a significant volume of capital for communities living in close proximity to renewable projects each year for the duration of the support scheme, which will support local community initiatives and sustainable development goals.
The RESS 2 auction schedule has been accelerated from the draft timetable which was published in June 2021 and is now set to open before the end of the year. EirGrid have published the updated auction timetable on their RESS project site.
It is anticipated that RESS 2 will deliver an increase of up to 3,500GWh in renewable electricity generation by the end of 2024. The Department are committed to frequent auctions and an acceleration of the connection of new renewables to the grid. An updated roadmap of future auctions will be published towards the end of the year.
Further information, including the final terms and conditions for RESS 2, is available on www.gov.ie.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme received EU state aid approval in July 2020.
The RESS is a product of both independent economic analysis and public participation and consultation. The development of RESS has included an in-depth review of international best practice, across the UK, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Canada and Scotland – world leaders in community-led renewable electricity projects.
The frequency of future RESS auctions is dependent on the renewable electricity project supply pipeline along with evolving market, locational and technological considerations.
This is the second of a minimum of five envisaged auctions to occur between 2020 and 2025 which will deliver on the 2030 targets. This will provide pathways for renewable developers, including offshore wind projects through dedicated offshore auctions, to plan and develop their projects. It will also allow Ireland to take advantage of new technologies as they emerge.
An updated roadmap of future auctions will set out the indicative timelines and volumes for auctions over the coming decade and provides clarity for developers in relation to when they need to have their projects 'auction ready'.
Increasing Technology Diversity
As technologies such as solar and storage mature, and costs decrease, Ireland will be able to take advantage of falling costs of technology throughout the next decade, which in turn will lead to greater diversification of its renewable and flexibility portfolio.
Community Enabling Framework
A community enabling framework has been established in conjunction with and hosted by SEAI for community-led projects, to support and encourage the development of a meaningful community electricity generation sector. A package of supports were announced by Minister Ryan in July for community-led projects. The measures included within this framework consist of:
- Financial supports, including grants and soft loans with declarations of interest – now open.
- A trusted intermediary network to work with communities through the various stages of projects.
- A trusted advisor network to be available to give specialist advice, such as legal and financial.
- A trusted information source for a variety of “how-to” information guides.
- A central point of contact – to co-ordinate all of these enabling services.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR FURTHER MEDIA QUERIES
DECC (Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications) Press Office
Jim Breen; Gerry Kavanagh; Press Office: 087-6937580 / Press.Office@decc.gov.ie