Ireland’s maiden renewables auction kicks off following state aid approval

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Image: Flickr/Glyn Lowe.

Renewables auctions in Ireland have been given the go-ahead after the European Commission cleared the country’s mechanism for state aid.

Ireland’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme received EU state aid approval yesterday, with the Commission concluding it did not “unduly distort” competition.

As a result, Ireland’s first auction for utility-scale renewables can get underway immediately. The first auction bidding stage started today (21 July 2020), with results expected in the coming months.

Executive vice-president of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said: “This Renewable Electricity Support Scheme will contribute to Ireland's transition to a low carbon and environmentally sustainable economy, in line with the European Green Deal and our State aid rules.”

Up to 10% of this is to be set aside for solar PV, with chairman of the Irish Solar Energy Association, David Maguire, welcoming efforts to create a space for solar in the auction despite describing the limitation of 10% as “disappointing”.

The RESS is to run until 2025, although it has already faced minor delays. Its application deadline was pushed back earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, going from 2 April to 30 April 2020.

It has an estimated total budget of between €7.2 billion (£6.5 billion) and €12.5 billion (£11.3 billion). Applicants that are successful are to receive support through the RESS for over 15 years.

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