Solar to form a key part of Ireland’s renewable auction debut

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

Solar will contribute up to 10% in Ireland’s first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction, according to new details released today. 

The long-awaited scheme, which first secured governmental approval in July 2018, follows on from the country’s Climate Action Action Plan, and is designed to help the country reach 70% renewable energy by 2030. 

This will be a big transition, as the country currently relies on fossil fuels for 86% of its energy. 

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said that Ireland would be exiting from peat and coal, and instead moving to technologies like wind and solar. 

“The Renewable Energy Support Scheme is a flagship government policy designed to deliver on our commitments to decarbonise our electricity grid, harness our natural resources and bring renewable energy into the heart of our communities,” he said. 

“Today, I am announcing the details of the first auction under the Scheme. Installed wind capacity has grown by 50% since 2015. This auction could see capacity grow further by 30% in the next three years, with solar and community participation. This is the equivalent of powering up to 640,000 homes every day and will have a significant impact on delivering what we set out in the Climate Action Plan.”

Subject to state aid approval, the first auction will be in early 2020 and will be for up to 3,000GWh of electricity. At least 1,000GWh of power is to be contracted for.

If solar were to snap up 10% on the auction, somewhere in the range of 100MW – 300MW can expect to be contracted.

Further auctions will be set depending on the renewables pipeline, but the government estimates that there will be four between 2020 and 2027 in order to meet the 2030 goal. 

Applications to pre-qualify for the auction are expected to open early next year – A March 2020 window has previously been mooted – with an auction pencilled in for June 2020.

A number of projects are already earmarked to take part in the RESS, including Statkraft’s recently acquired 320MW portfolio in the country. 

The scheme includes an obligatory contribution to the Community Benefit Fund. Those involved will have to add a minimum of €2 per megawatt hour every year, this should generate an estimated €6 million for communities living in close to the projects. 

Projects from Irish citizens or communities are particularly invited in the RESS, with the government saying that they will prioritise those that live close to projects.  

Bruton said they were keen to have communities involved in the projects. “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.”

The solar market in Ireland is growing after getting off to a slow start. A number of key players have now entered the market, including Viridian Solar earlier this year, following a strategic partnership that will see its Viridian’s Clearline Fusion roof integrated solar PV systems brought to the country.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in Europe and beyond will take centre stage at Solar Media's Solar Finance & Investment Europe (London, 5-6 February) and Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 31 March-1 April 2020).

Read Next

October 15, 2021
European renewables investment management firm Greencoat Capital has confirmed its entry to the US renewables market and is plotting to invest up to US$5 billion over the next five years.
October 5, 2021
PV Tech has partnered with Intersolar Europe to publish a special edition of PV Tech Power, available entirely free of charge, ahead of this week’s exhibition and conference.
September 29, 2021
Island Green Power is to develop two solar PV projects totaling over 1GW on former coal power station sites in the UK.
September 28, 2021
Investment manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners has acquired a 350MW solar-plus-storage site expected to be the largest single site PV install in the UK once completed.
PV Tech Premium
September 28, 2021
Toni Weigl, head of product management for floating PV at BayWa r.e., explores the current trends for designing and developing floating solar projects and poses the question, where next for floating PV?
September 14, 2021
Polish renewables developer PAD-RES is to be acquired by a joint venture established by real estate investor Kajima and private equity firm Griffin Real Estate.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021