Deputy Bruton's work in those 18 months was of huge importance. We had an Oireachtas joint committee which worked collectively before. This was backed up by an approach from the then Minister, Deputy Bruton, which put much of the thinking into the 2019 climate action plan that he devised. His previous experience with the jobs action plan and in different Departments also went into it. As I said at the time and have said publicly since, the structure and the approach was the right one. We are looking to continue that. We actually submitted that existing plan, as required under European legislation, at the start of the summer. At the time, we said we were looking to use those structures and the governance approach but, as per the programme for Government, increase the ambition. The jobs action plan, climate action plan and multiproject timetabled systemic approach is the right approach and a real credit to Deputy Bruton.
Within that, the European Council decision last week to go to a 55% ambition is significant and progressive step. I will have to come back to talk to Deputy Bruton after this Thursday because I am due to go to the European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday. Some of those details of where we will go next with effort-sharing decisions will only be worked out then. We could not really decide on that in advance of the climate conclusions. Just as the committee is finalising its report on climate legislation, there is real urgency in the European Council that we turn the Heads of Government agreement into climate law in the European Union and set out the effort-sharing mechanism for each member state. That will apply to climate emissions.
I also expect it to apply to both renewables and the energy efficiency targets which are 32% and 32.5%, respectively, in the plans to date. These will be different from what we are dealing with here in that to date they have not been country-specific targets. We can expect significant ramping up of both the climate emissions targets, the energy efficiency targets and renewable energy targets. That is in tune with the programme for Government. It is appropriate we made that decision back in June and July because it puts us in line with where the European Union and similar states are going.
With regard to the RESS auctions and the community pot, it has been difficult for us and it has taken a long time to develop community energy projects. In truth, the Templederry community wind farm is the one notable example of a project at scale. It was welcome in the recent RESS auction system that seven projects were approved in the process. We are restricted under European Union competition rules as to how much of the auction process can be allocated for a community pot. It is a 2% overall limit. We are one of the few countries that has got an agreement from the European Union to allocate a specific community fund within the auction system. We are looking to continue that with the next auction next year. It may well evolve towards a 100% community-owned project approach. We have had a push to date for community projects where private developers can row in with a share of the project.
I am keen, given the small allocation within that overall pot, for there to be as much community ownership as possible but we will continue to monitor and address that and consider other mechanisms. This is something that is evolving. It is not only on the energy side. We always focus on the generation but forget that efficiency comes first. The first most important fuel is energy not used. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's work on sustainable energy communities has been significant. More than 200 plus communities engaged with it to devise plans. Many of them relate not only to energy generation but to potential energy savings, co-ordination around retrofitting or other mechanisms to go into energy saving.
On the community energy side, I expect within the coming weeks to issue a public consultation on the switch towards a mechanism for us to be able to sell power back to the grid and to promote what we have been talking about for a long time but which has not taken off at scale yet, namely, the ability particularly for solar power to be done at a community level, with easy access to the grid and a price guaranteed for power that is exported where existing demand has already been met.
The Deputy raised a wide range of issues. The development of offshore wind will require a great deal of State involvement in a variety of ways. First, we will have to look at our ports to see how we can support the development of the offshore wind industry that is coming into play. That can include in certain ports operations and maintenance facilities, which will be an important part. In others, it may be a deployment facility where an area is needed to store, assemble and prepare for the installation of wind farms and beyond that, thinking bigger, looking at the generation of a new industrial supply chain around not only the development, particularly in the long run, of the offshore floating wind energy but the development of the use of the power that comes back in, where there is massive potential for economic development in our port areas and regional development.
Increasingly, people are considering hydrogen as a storage mechanism for conversion by electrolysis of offshore wind to such power supplies which provide the potential for our ports not only to be assembly or development points for offshore wind but to be the capture point of the energy and the deployment of the energy in new industrial uses close to the source of the power. That is the long-term prize and the reason the marine planning and development legislation is such a priority for the Government. It will be a long process and we expect the first auction of offshore wind energy will be at the end of next year. It will be targeted in the Irish Sea area and will involve some 2.5 GW of offshore wind. It will deal with many legacy projects which have licensing, in some instances, going back a decade. In the first instance, because of the short distances involved and many of the existing licensing and other arrangements are in place and grid offers and connections are organised, it will involve tiebacks to the system, particularly being close to Dublin where much of the demand is, that makes sense. We would be tying industrial development with renewable power. We have that in terms of offshore developments that will occur on the east coast. That auction at the end of next year will be followed by other auctions, where we start to move into the Celtic Sea and look at the western coast and offshore floating wind energy. The scale of power there is beyond compare. If we were to develop that initial target of 30 GW of offshore wind, particularly floating offshore wind, it would be six times peak demand at the moment, which gives a sense of the scale of opportunity. However, in this instance to get it right, the State has a key role to play not only in the ports to support that but in the management and development of the grid. The question at issue is how do we collect, share, distribute and use that power. In that instance, companies like EirGrid will have a critical role to play.
Interestingly, I will be going to the Environment Council meeting on Thursday but I spent most of yesterday at the European Energy Council meeting and I also attended a meeting with the North Sea countries' offshore grid initiative, which is something I was proud to sign ten years earlier. This is centre stage in European economic plans. This is what every country is talking about as their main focus. Most of the meeting of the energy ministers yesterday was taken up with the development of offshore wind and the use of the power using new power supplies like hydrogen. We have a comparative competitive advantage. We have the wind dislocation and a sea area ten times our land area. I spoke to the Norwegian Minister and heard that Norway has already deployed an 80 MW floating offshore wind field. We can expect the cost to come down and, subject to that, we can expect a major new industrial opportunity to open up for our country, in which the State will have to be centrally involved, particularly on grid planning.
I hope I have addressed most of the questions. Regarding the national energy climate action plan, as I said, we submitted the outgoing 2019 plan to meet our European obligations and they allowed the European Union to close the book, as it were, on the existing national energy and climate plans, NECPs, and to do a new impact assessment on what additional capabilities there are for each country. The Commissioner is in the middle of that process. We go into the new year with the aim of having an updated climate action plan which goes with at least a 7% reduction a year in a decade, a 51% reduction over the decade, and set that as our goal. We aim to engage with all Departments and agencies to have that plan by summer next year. It will be quite a tight timeline to get the plan completed in that time, as the former Minister, Deputy Bruton, will know, but one of the reasons we have that timeframe is to fit into the European NECP process and for us to be able to go to Glasgow next year with a clear understanding of what our role is in this transformation.
One of the urgencies around the climate action Bill is that I am keen that work is done in tandem with our ability to have a new climate advisory council in place for it to feed into and for its budgeting and three five-year process to be in sync with that same timetable. They will not be exactly in sync but that makes sense. Another reason it makes sense is that I expect those first six months next year to be critical for the review of the national development plan. It is critical we have the new climate action plan in tandem with the national development plan review. That is the reason this timing is as tight as it is but it is appropriate in my mind.