Dáil hears minister is determined to deliver on Climate Action Plan

In an effort to deliver on the ambitions of the Climate Action Plan Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton confirmed to the Dáil earlier this week that his department is currently “developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS)”.

​​The scheme will provide support to renewable electricity projects and will have a primary focus on cost effectiveness. It will focus on enabling a framework for community participation; increasing technological diversity and the delivery of ambitious renewable electricity policy to 2030.

Speaking about his aims – in relation to climate action – the minister pointed to last week’s Climate Action Plan which, he added, “includes a suite of actions to decarbonise the electricity sector and boost the quantity of renewable generation in order to meet our target of 70% of demand from renewable sources by 2030”.

The ultimate auction timetable and volumes to be procured in any given year will be determined by a combination of the analysis carried out as part of the NECP.

He added: “Also included is an assessment of the supply pipeline of eligible projects to ensure competitive outcomes for consumers.”

The minister, meanwhile, was responding to questions put to him by Sinn Féin’s deputy Pearse Doherty who asked if the RESS scheme is expected to create savings in the construction of renewable energy generating infrastructure – as opposed to the state building the infrastructure directly.

Minister Bruton pointed out that he wanted corporate contracting of renewable energy sources – Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) – to provide 15% of the required generation to meet Ireland’s 2030 renewable electricity target.

Together, the RESS and Corporate PPAs will provide a route to market for the delivery of indicative volumes set out in the plan of 3.5GW of off-shore renewable generation and up to 1.5GW of solar and 8.2GW of onshore wind by 2030.

He continued: “In Ireland, the electricity generation market is liberalised and open to both state owned and private enterprises to compete in line with the requirements of the EU internal energy market.

“Similarly, the awarding of support for renewable generation under the RESS will be through a competitive auction-based framework, where state owned and private enterprises will compete to deliver projects at the lowest cost to consumers.

“The RESS is subject to EU state aid approval, with the qualification process for the first auction expected to begin towards the end of 2019.”