The first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction held last year included a provision that mandatory Community Benefit Funds would be established by all successful projects.

These funds are set at €2/MWh for all generation projects and are to be used for the “wider environmental, social and cultural wellbeing of the local community”.

For the first auction, this equates to nearly €4 million per annum for Community Benefit Funds.

Good Practice Principles

A set of ‘Good Practice Principles’ is being published so that all projects and citizens “know what is expected from these Community Benefit Funds and to ensure that the requirement to provide a fund is applied consistently”.

The aim of this consultation is to gather stakeholder feedback on the principles, which may help to inform the final document.

As part of the public consultation process, citizens are invited to register to participate in one of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication’s webinars being held to gather feedback on the draft handbook.

The webinars will be held on April 21 and April 27. The consultation will remain open until 5:30pm on May 24. All responses should be submitted to CBF Consultation, Electricity Policy Division of the department.

The department notes that the principles take account of the need to invest in communities, and to avoid undue regulation and restrictions on the ability of communities to define their own priorities and objectives.

Following consideration of submissions to this consultation, a final document will be published by Minister Eamon Ryan prior to July 1, 2021.