It has been announced today (2 December 2019) by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. that the Government has approved key design features for the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction.

This is welcome news for the Irish renewables sector and comes some 16 months after the Government first approved the high level design of this new support scheme. A key function of the scheme will be to underpin the ambitious target set out in the Climate Action Plan, published earlier this year, of moving to 70% renewable electricity (from a current c.35%) by 2030.

Whist the draft terms and conditions are not yet in circulation and are due to be published in mid-December for a five week consultation, today’s announcement does bring further clarity and information into the public domain. For example, the Government has approved the inclusion of a ring-fenced solar category, subject to State Aid approval, equating to 10% of the overall auction capacity. Also, the Government has approved the inclusion of a community category, subject to State Aid approval, equating to up to 30GWh.

As ever, the devil will be in the detail, and Irish renewable electricity developers, funders and other stakeholders now await the imminent publication of the draft terms and conditions with anticipation.