RESS – Ireland finally returns to renewable electricity auctions

The end of the post-REFIT drought may be in sight with Irish Cabinet approval of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). Here’s hoping EU State-Aid approval is quicker than it was for the REFIT 1 and 2 schemes and that our next renewable energy auctions really do take place in early 2019 as suggested. We also hope they are more successful than Ireland’s previous experience of such auctions under the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) scheme.

Yes, it’s a return to auctions for us rather than something brand new. Long before the days of REFIT, those of us around in the ‘90s and early 2000’s remember the frustration caused by the AER scheme; where poorly judged bids led to build out rates as low as 27%. Thankfully the High Level Design paper published this week proposes some safeguards against that and has taken lessons from other recent European and International auctions. However, the detailed design of the auction and the response of the market will be the real test of how successful RESS is likely to be.

In the meantime we will all be getting even busier preparing wind (onshore and offshore), solar and bio-mass projects with our clients for our ‘Back to the Future’ auctions.

In Ionic, we already have a good-natured competition running to try to predict the first auction date (month and year), so feel free to add your guess to the list the next time we meet! We may even graph the guesses for the IWEA and ISEA conferences in October and November if enough people respond! For now though, it’s back to work for us getting our clients’ projects ‘RESS – Ready’.

Brendan Heneghan

The Departments RESS Press Release and High Level Design paper can be found here