Eamon Ryan: 1,000 jobs ‘ready to go’ in renewable energy project developments

Solar, wind and community energy projects are to deliver €1.4 billion in investment along with 1,000 jobs “ready to go” as the government has approved the results of the country’s first renewable energy auction.

The final results of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1) auction have been announced.

The auction process, which decides what generators receive monies, has determined that support will be given for a total of 63 onshore solar farms and 19 wind farms. This means approximately 160 new wind turbines will be constructed and approximately 1,750ha of solar panels.

The provisional results were published in August, and these final auction results have been approved by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan.

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.

Speaking about the final results, Minister Ryan said that renewable electricity is a “central element of our action on climate disruption”.

The RESS lays the foundations of a thriving and cost-effective renewable electricity market that supports the growth of the green economy, creates sustainable work opportunities and ultimately benefits the consumer as the renewables become more and more cost effective.

The target for community project participation was exceeded. Seven communities are now being “supported to produce their own power and share in the ownership of Ireland’s energy revolution”.

Minister Ryan expects that the next auction will have a higher share of community-based renewables.

Background on RESS-1

RESS-1 is the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme by the government of Ireland. The scheme uses a competitive auction process to determine which generators receive support.

For projects that are successful in the auction, this support typically applies for approximately 15 years.

EirGrid ran the auction at the end of July. Of the 108 projects that submitted an offer price in respect of the auction, 82 projects have been deemed successful in the auction and 26 projects deemed unsuccessful.

A total of 114 projects applied to participate in the qualification process. The final results qualified 109, as three did not qualify and two projects withdrew from the process.