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Renewable Energy Generation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (23)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

23. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which he expects the national energy grid to become carbon free through the utilisation of non-fossil fuel electricity generation; the extent of investment in on and offshore wind energy, solar and or biomass; the number of on or offshore or solar energy generation projects currently in hand and capable of supplying the national grid in the next three to seven years; if he anticipates an accelerated programme of investment in wind, solar and biomass sectors in the shortest possible time in order to help to meet emissions guidelines on a progressive basis over the period in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52712/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The National Development Plan 2021-2030 sets out a €12.9 billion indicative allocation for my Department which underpins our commitment to achieving a climate neutral, sustainable, and digitally connected Ireland. Our goal is that up to 80% of our electricity will come from renewable generation by the end of the decade. This goal will contribute to Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by substituting fossil fuel generated electricity for primarily wind and solar electricity generation. The detailed measures and actions to deliver on these emissions targets will be set out in the forthcoming Climate Action Plan.

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is the Government’s flagship programme to deliver on our renewable electricity targets by providing support to renewable electricity projects through competitive auctions. The first RESS 1 projects have now started connecting to the grid and generating renewable electricity.

Last week, I launched the second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 2) auction following Government approval. The RESS 2 auction schedule has been accelerated and is now set to open before the end of the year. EirGrid have published the updated auction timetable on their RESS project site. It is anticipated that RESS 2 will deliver an increase of up to 3,500GWh in renewable electricity generation by the end of 2024.

My Department is also developing the first of a series of offshore specific RESS auctions, the terms and conditions of which have been recently published for consultation. Further onshore and at least two further offshore wind auctions are planned this decade to achieve our 2030 targets. I am committed to frequent RESS auctions to deliver an accelerated connection of renewable energy to the grid and an updated indicative roadmap of future auctions will be published by my Department towards the end of the year.

EirGrid are due to shortly finalise their ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future’ strategy, which will inform the policy and regulatory measures required for the development of the national grid to enable achievement of the 2030 renewable electricity target.

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