Rural Ireland is set to benefit from a large share of the investment of over €1.4 billion and creation of about 10,500 construction jobs and 1,100 additional permanent jobs, following success for 82 projects in the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction.
They include 63 solar energy projects and 19 on-shore wind projects.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan said the RESS result sets Ireland on the right trajectory to achieve the 70% renewable electricity target by 2030 in the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan.
“This will be crucial to Ireland’s contribution towards an EU-wide renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, and to the 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030,” he said.
“While these results remain subject to Government approval, the first RESS auction provides us with a platform for rapid deployment of onshore wind and solar projects at scale and at least cost, replacing fossil fuels on our energy grid”, said Minister Ryan.
RESS will also support seven successful community applicants to produce their own power. “ I would expect that our next auction will have a higher share of community-based renewables”, said Minister Ryan.
RESS offers renewable energy projects the opportunity to secure a 15-year fixed-price contract, as the anchor around which financing can be secured, to build out the projects.
The successful projects equate to a potential saving of about 671 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is about 10% of the amount required to meet the 2030 targets.
Seven projects allowing communities to develop their own renewable energy projects and sell the energy back to the grid accounted for about 1.5% of the overall successful auction volume
This first RESS auction also included mandatory community benefit funds for all projects, which will deliver about €4.5 million a year to sustainable community initiatives for communities living near RESS-1 Projects.
It is envisaged that at least four further RESS auctions will occur between 2020 and 2025.