The application date for second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 2) has been brought forward to December, three months earlier than originally planned.
RESS is the Government’s flagship renewable electricity policy, which is instrumental in supporting the development of 80% renewable electricity generation by 2030.
It is a competitive auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.
The first auction, RESS 1, saw over 82 onshore wind and solar farm projects secure 15 years of State-backed funding.
Commenting on the launch of the scheme, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said: “We are exiting from generating electricity from peat and coal and moving to clean, renewable sources of power, like wind and solar.
“Increased renewable energy will insulate Ireland from the volatility of international gas and carbon prices, which are near an all-time high.”
RESS is one of the primary policies set out in the programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan to address Ireland’s climate challenges over the coming years.
RESS 2 follows a broadly similar design to RESS 1, but aims to increase eligible technology diversity and includes support for storage on sites.
The auction is open to new projects (0.5MW to 600GWh/yr in output) but must have planning permission and a grid connection secured before applying.
Eligible technologies include:
Unlike RESS 1, there isn’t a specific preference category for solar technology. This means that all of the above technologies will be competing against each other in the auction.
In many cases, higher-cost technologies such as biogas and biomass CHP likely won’t be able to be competitive enough to secure support compared to wind and solar PV.
Once again, however, community-based projects have their own category.
Community benefit funding
Projects which secure funding will have to contribute €2 per MWh to a Community Benefit Fund in local communities close to the site.
Onshore wind farms will have to pay a further €1,000 to each household located within one kilometre of the site.
According to the revised RESS 2 timetable published by Eirgrid, applications for auction qualification will close on 13 January. The auction itself will open on 2 May, with the provisional results announced on 17 May.
An updated roadmap of future RESS auctions is expected to be published towards the end of the year.