Environment Minister Richard Bruton unveiled details of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction on Monday afternoon, which is set to open early next year.

The long-awaited RESS is an auction-based scheme which allows renewable electricity projects to bid for a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.

The scheme will be open to a range of technologies and includes a specific solar category, which would represent approximately 10% of the overall auction.

It is envisaged that at least four auctions will take place between 2020 and 2027 which are expected to lead to significant expansion of wind (onshore and offshore) and solar power generation.

The scheme is aiming to achieve 70% renewable electricity by 2030. Current estimates put this figure at around 33%.

The scheme is part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, which Mr Bruton said will give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.

Community support

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

In addition to this, every project developer will be obligated to contribute to a community benefit fund at a rate of €2 per megawatt hour every year.

This will generate a minimum amount of up to €6m for communities living close to renewable projects each year.

“I am keen that communities where renewable energy projects are being built are included in the project’s development," Mr Bruton said.

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