Last week Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, announced that he had secured Irish Government approval for the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). According to Minister Naughten, “The RESS is a critical step in bringing Ireland to a leadership role in renewable energy, climate action and energy efficiency.”
But what is the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS)?
It is envisaged that the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme will provide support to renewable electricity projects in Ireland. With a primary focus on cost effectiveness, the RESS will deliver a broader range of policy objectives, including:
- An enabling framework for community participation through the provision of pathways and supports for communities to participate in renewable energy projects
- Increasing technology diversity by broadening the renewable electricity technology mix (the diversity of technologies)
- Delivering an ambitious renewable electricity policy to 2030
- Increasing energy security, energy sustainability and ensuring the cost effectiveness of energy policy
RESS auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme. This will allow Ireland to take advantage of falling technology costs and by not auctioning all the required capacity at once; will not 'lock in' higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme.
Renewable Electricity Ambition (RES-E)
The Scheme will provide for a renewable electricity (RES-E) ambition of up to a maximum of 55% by 2030, subject to determining the cost-effective level which will be set out in the draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).
RESS auctions will be designed in line with trajectory targets identified in Ireland's NECP. In addition, the first RESS auction in 2019 will deliver 'shovel ready' projects, reducing the gap to 2020 targets and assisting in the early delivery for Ireland’s overall trajectory for 2030.
In terms of communities, all projects looking for support under the new RESS will need to meet pre-qualification criteria including offering the community an opportunity to invest in and take ownership of a portion of renewable projects in their local area. A national register of community benefit payments will also be established.
Full details on the Irish Government’s RESS design paper can be viewed here. If you're interested in renewable energy opportunities for your business, farm, or community contact GES Energy at email@example.com.