The revised National Development Plan 2021-2030 commits to increasing the share of renewable electricity up to 80% by 2030. To achieve this ambition, the state will adopt a multi-technology approach to increase our renewable energy production capacity and enhance our energy security by diversifying our sources of renewable energy.
Multiple technologies, including wind and solar will be supported via competitive auctions under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The first RESS auction was held last year and awarded supports to over 1 Gigawatt of new renewable generation. To put this figure in some perspective, onshore wind generation capacity in Ireland stood at 4.1 Gigawatts at the end of 2019.
Last week I published the final terms and conditions of the second RESS auction, RESS 2, along with an accelerated auction timetable. I also published the terms and conditions of the first offshore wind auction, ORESS 1, for consultation in October. At least two further offshore wind auctions are planned this decade to achieve our 2030 offshore targets.
In tandem with this grid-scale renewable electricity, my Department is finalising the design of the Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS). It is expected that a proposal on the supports to be offered to citizens, groups, farms, schools and businesses under the MSS, will be submitted to Government later this year.
The Government is focused on strengthening the reliability of electricity supplies through investment in the electricity transmission and distribution grid and through further interconnection with other electricity markets, including the Celtic Interconnector to France and further interconnection to the UK. This will be complemented by measures such as investment in energy storage and the rollout of smart meters.
In addition to increased volumes of renewable generation and interconnection, the National Development Plan sets out the need for circa 2,000 MW of new conventional electricity generation capacity over the course of the coming decade with much of this needed by mid-decade. This generation, most of which will be gas-fired, is needed in order to support the operation of the electricity system and provide security of supply for when variable generation, principally wind and solar, is not sufficient to meet demand.