In the Climate Action Plan I have set a target of 70% for renewable electricity by 2030, to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Analysis and modelling to underpin the Plan had regard to Marginal Abetment Cost Curve analysis and comparative international data. The Plan identifies a range of technical, regulatory, legislative and economic factors that arise in going to this figure. The impact on the costs of electricity, affordability for consumers and business competitiveness of setting higher renewable electricity targets also has to be considered.
The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is being designed to deliver on our commitments to decarbonise our electricity grid, harness our natural resources and bring renewable energy into the heart of our communities. The RESS has been informed by detailed analysis of international renewable energy schemes in particular regarding technology costs, auction design and the community framework. The Community Framework that underpins the RESS design is based on international studies of community support for renewable energy covering Canada, Denmark, Scotland and Germany.
Moreover the Climate Plan sets out a suite of actions to boost renewable source of electricity generation including an augmented RESS design through the inclusion of specific support for offshore wind in the RESS design to deliver the scale of renewables required to decarbonise our electricity system as has been the case in other jurisdictions. Other key measures to foster renewable energy set out in the Plan have been informed by best practice in other jurisdictions including microgeneration, corporate power purchase agreements, hybrid grid connections and offshore grid models.
Through Ireland’s participation in EU led initiatives on renewable energy as well as the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the North Seas Energy Group, my Department and our agencies are participating in the development of policies to support renewable energy and applying international best practice in Ireland. As an example, EirGrid’s ambitious multi-year programme, Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System (DS3), has already made us a world leader in the management of intermittent forms of renewable electricity, with levels of instantaneous wind penetration reaching levels of 65% and above.