Consultation on new Irish RESS Design Published

At long last, Ireland’s Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has published the RESS consultation – the renewable electricity support scheme – to follow on from REFIT 2.

At first glance, it appears that a technology neutral auction is recommended – certainly good for onshore wind. However, it does seem to leave the door open for future technology specific auctions which should finally provide a route to market for Solar PV, Offshore and Biomass energy.

As expected, there is a community-led element that may qualify for a REFIT style scheme (for wind <6MW and all other technologies <1MW) as well as a compulsory community involvement (up to 20%) and a separate community fund (€2 per MWh) for developer-led projects. It envisages multiple auctions (possibly every 2 years although developers will almost certainly push for more frequent ones) rather than just a single auction to cover the next 10 years. This seems sensible and will allow the process to be tweaked over time by the Department as required.

The initial base case involves a continuation of the 40% RES-E requirement up to 2030 (with 45%, 50% and 55% scenarios also considered) but I suspect that will be adjusted to reflect Ireland’s EU target for 2030 once agreed. I understand that a recent EirGrid study was looking at 60-65% scenarios.

The consultation is open for submissions until November 3rd 2017, and I suspect that IWEA will circulate both a more detailed summary and a suggested response over the coming weeks.

Brendan Heneghan

Operations Director, Ionic Consulting