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Ireland unveils renewable energy auction scheme

The Irish government has approved an auction scheme designed to increase its electricity generation from renewable energy sources (RES-E) to 55%, by 2030.

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to “a more market-oriented mechanism” – through auctions – where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators, according to Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Ireland’s previous RES-E target was 40% by 2020. The country’s new 55% target has one eye on delivering its contribution towards a European Union-wide renewable energy target of 32%, by 2030, agreed last month as part of the EU’s revised Renewable Energy Directive.

The Irish government is seeking EU State Aid for RESS.

Auctions will be held throughout the lifetime of the scheme, to allow consumers to take advantage of falling technology costs, the government said. The first auction will be held in 2019. The government will determine the quantity of capacity to be procured in each auction round based on project supply and demand.

“The use of certain ‘levers’, such as near-term delivery dates and ‘single-technology caps’, will accelerate the broadening of the renewable technology mix, particularly in light of falling costs for a number of renewable technologies,” said Naughten.

Stephen Nolan, chief executive of Dublin-based non-profit Sustainable Nation Ireland, told Environmental Finance: “This policy clarity will help mobilise developers and investors to deliver on these objectives over the next 10 years.”

The news follows the announcement, in February, of a vast public-private decarbonisation funding programme worth up to €21.8 billion ($26.9 billion), which formed part of the government’s Project Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework.


Michael Hurley, 26th July Environmental Finance 


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