63 onshore solar farms given the ‘green light’ in first renewable electricity auction

Contracts for 63 onshore solar farms across Ireland have been given the “green light”, according to Minister Eamon Ryan.

The provisional results of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1) auction have been announced. The auction process, which determines what generators receive monies, paves the way for support for a total of 63 onshore solar farms and 19 wind farms.

Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan has said that the RESS, which is a government support scheme for renewable electricity, is a “platform for rapid deployment of onshore wind and solar projects at scale, replacing fossil fuels on our energy grid”.

The successful solar farm projects in the auction are concentrated in the south and the east of the country, with onshore wind project locations more dispersed.

‘We can do more’

CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) Dr. David Connolly has welcomed the provisional results of the auction, saying that it will “deliver cheaper and greener energy to power Ireland’s homes, farms and businesses”.

However, Dr. Connolly added that while the auction “indicates [that] the price of wind energy in Ireland has fallen sharply, the industry is determined to cut prices further”.

The provisional price announced by EirGrid for contracts in the general pot was €74.08, which represents the average bid price of 19 wind farms and a number of solar projects.

Dr. Connolly said that this price is “well under the existing cost of the REFIT [Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff] support scheme which, as of 2019, was €80.25 and represents a substantial saving for electricity consumers”.

We can do more, we can do better and we can be cheaper.

“This was Ireland’s first renewable energy auction and we have already identified changes that could be made to deliver lower prices. With the right auction design, we can deliver more and cheaper power next year,” Dr. Connolly concluded.