Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (309)

Thomas Pringle


309. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the rationale for limiting the RESS auction category for solar energy to a maximum of 10% (details supplied). [52481/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In order to deliver on the ambition set out in the Climate Action 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. The Scheme is subject to state aid approval from the EU Commission. The Climate Action Plan targets the delivery of indicative volumes of up to 1.5 GW of grid scale solar by 2030. Utility scale solar energy farms will be critical to diversifying the renewable technology mix and to deliver gains through connecting hybrid renewable technologies. The volume of connected solar in 2030 may well exceed this target if prices continue to fall and solar projects are successful in the RESS auctions.

The RESS-1 auction will include a preference category for solar energy projects in order to provide for the diversification of the renewable energy mix, subject to EU state aid approval. This preference category will ensure that a minimum quantity of solar is procured, which is expected to be approximately 10% of the overall auction amount subject to a competitive number of solar energy applications entering the RESS auction.

My Department held a public stakeholder briefing on 22 November 2019 at which officials presented on the RESS detailed design framework and the presentation from the briefing session is available on my Department's website. The detailed terms and conditions of the scheme are shortly due to be published for consultation.