2 December 2019 saw Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD announce details of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction in the country to have received government approval
The Irish Government wants to move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030, but industry analysts say the first auction probably comes too early for offshore wind projects and that the government in the country still has work to do to enable offshore wind projects to play a role in renewable energy auctions.
Cornwall Insight senior consultant James Goldsmith told OWJ, “Due to the short delivery time for the RESS-1 auction of 2.5 years between the auction and energisation date, offshore wind is unlikely to be able to enter the auction successfully.
Mr Goldsmith said there is still a lack of clarity around offshore licencing and grid connection arrangements that would make developing those assets challenging in the timeframe, and said that, at the moment, talk in the industry is of either RESS-2 or RESS-3 being targeted by the government for getting offshore wind built-out in Ireland.
The Renewable Energy Support Scheme is a flagship Government policy designed to deliver on commitments to decarbonise Ireland’s electricity grid, harness natural resources and bring renewable energy into the heart of communities.
In making his announcement, Mr Bruton highlighted that Irish onshore wind capacity has grown by 50% since 2015. This auction could see capacity grow further by a 30% in the next three years, with solar and community participation, he said.
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, subject to state aid approval, will make up the first auction set to open next year.
The first auction is set to open early in 2020, subject to state aid approval and will deliver up to a 3,000 GWh increase in renewable electricity generation by the end of 2022.