Irish govt approves RESS auction

The first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction has received approval from the Irish government.

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.

A key part of the Climate Action Plan, published in June 2019, is a move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

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:

  • Increasing Technology Diversity: the scheme will be open to a range of technologies that will broaden the renewable energy mix and enhance security of supply.
  • Solar; the government has approved the inclusion of a solar category, subject to state aid approval, which would represent approximately 10% of the overall auction
  • Community led category: the government has approved the inclusion of a community category within the auction, subject to state aid approval of up to 30 GWh
  • Community Participation: An obligatory community benefit fund scheme will provide opportunities for communities to play their part in Ireland's renewable energy transition

The first auction is set to open early next year, subject to State Aid approval and will deliver up to a 3,000GWh increase in renewable electricity generation by the end of 2022.

Every project developer will be obligated to contribute to a Community Benefit Fund at a rate of EUR2 per Mega Watt hour (MWhr) every year. This will generate a minimum amount of up to EUR6m for communities living in close proximity to renewable projects each year.

The RESS will also mandate that Irish citizens or communities will have access to investment opportunities in renewable energy projects, prioritising those citizens that live in close proximity to the projects. 

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said: "I am keen that communities where renewable energy projects are being built are included in the project's development. The government have agreed to make this a strong element of the scheme. I am pleased to confirm that work on the establishment of an enabling framework to support community projects and participation is well underway and will intensify in the New Year"

Further information is available on the RESS page on the Department's website. The draft terms and conditions will be published in mid-December for a five-week consultation.