I recently 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 demand from renewable sources by 2030. In order to deliver on the ambition set out in the Climate Plan, my Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The RESS will be characterised by a series of renewable electricity auctions, aligned with the ambition set out in the Climate Action Plan and the final National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). The RESS is now in the detailed design and implementation phase and my Department is progressing the RESS project across a number of key work streams including the EU State Aid approval process; the development of an Enabling Framework for Community Participation; and the design of the first RESS auctions. A working group and steering group have been established with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and EirGrid to oversee the implementation of the RESS auctions and harness existing expertise in this area. It is expected that the first RESS auction will open for applications by the end of 2019. Engagement with relevant stakeholders including the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Competition, will continue in the coming months but the formal opening of the Scheme will be subject to state aid approval.
As set out in the Climate Action Plan, it is my intention that corporate contracting of renewable energy sources (via Corporate Power Purchase Agreements or CPPAs) will provide 15% of the required generation to meet Ireland's 2030 renewable electricity target. CPPAs have potential to provide a route to market for renewable project developers in the shorter term, boosting Ireland's renewable energy capacity in advance of the formal commencement of RESS. The Plan includes a suite of actions to develop effective policy tools that can kick start corporate PPAs in Ireland and deliver on our RES-E targets at no extra cost to the public.