Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (15)

Robert Troy

Question:

15. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the grants available to support the construction of solar energy farms; his plans to introduce further grant aid; and the terms and conditions which apply for a solar energy farm to supply energy to the national grid. [28458/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

On 17 June, I launched the Climate Action Plan which 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 electricity demand from renewable sources by 2030.

In order to deliver on the ambition set out in the Plan, my Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The RESS has been designed within a competitive auction-based, cost effective framework and the scheme will provide for a renewable electricity (RES-E) ambition of 70% by 2030.

Technology diversity, including solar PV and offshore wind, will occur naturally as the scheme matures and certain intervention levers may be used within each auction round to promote certain policy objectives such as community participation, community ownership and diversifying the renewable energy mix. Globally, the costs of renewable technologies are falling rapidly with solar PV showing the most rapid decrease in prices in recent years.

I am targeting the delivery of indicative volumes of up to 1.5 GW of grid scale solar by 2030. Grid scale solar energy farms will be critical to diversifying the renewable technology mix and to deliver gains through connecting hybrid renewable technologies.

The terms and conditions of the RESS auctions will set out the process by which all competing technologies including grid scale solar farms connect and receive support for supplying energy to the national grid. The first RESS auction is expected to open for applications in late 2019. In addition corporate power purchase agreements will provide a route to market for solar PV and will be key to meeting our 70% RES-E target.

Questions Nos. 16 to 18, inclusive, answered orally.