The Climate Action Plan launched in June 2019 sets out the comprehensive suite of actions to ensure Ireland can meet the 2030 climate commitments putting us on a trajectory to be net zero by 2050. Ireland has abundant, diverse and indigenous renewable energy, which will be critical to decarbonising our energy system and enhancing our security of supply.
The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) under development is critical to delivering on the ambitious target of 70% of electricity demand by 2030. To achieve 70% renewable electricity will require the grid to be able to recieve almost 100% electricity from renewables when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. The 70% is an average figure, reflecting that there will be times when wind and solar final are not available.
The Scheme is being designed to achieve its targets within a competitive framework which will put downward pressure on the costs to end consumers. The RESS auctions will ultimately determine the precise mix and cost of renewable projects and technology diversity, including onshore and offshore wind, solar, hydro and ocean technologies, will occur naturally as the scheme matures.
Private sector funding through corporate contracting will also be essential for meeting higher levels of ambition to increase renewable energy supply. The Climate Action Plan commits to a 15% target for the renewable industry to develop projects through subsidy free corporate power purchase agreements by 2030.
Long term decarbonisation of the electricity sector will require significant investment in Ireland’s potential in offshore renewables including harnessing the potential to export power generated offshore to other EU Member States. Further reinforcement of the grid (including greater interconnection to allow electricity to flow between Ireland and other countries), and putting systems in place to manage intermittent sources of power through developing a range of storage technologies will be essential.
While significant investment will be required to meet long term targets in decarbonisation of electricity, rapidly falling costs of renewable energy technologies will help reduce the costs to energy consumers. The Department will ensure that the costs of electricity from renewable energy sources will be kept under review and that RESS auctions will be informed by up-to-date Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis.