Sunday 8 December 2019

Government aims to generate 70% renewable electricity by 2030

Environment Minister Richard Bruton unveiled details of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.

Ireland hopes to have 70% renewable electricity by 2030 (Peter Byrne/PA)
Ireland hopes to have 70% renewable electricity by 2030 (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

A government scheme to achieve 70% renewable electricity by 2030 will meet Ireland’s future climate commitments, it has been claimed.

Environment Minister Richard Bruton unveiled details of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction, which is to open next year.

The scheme is part of the government’s Climate Action Plan which Mr Bruton said will give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.

The move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030 is a key part of the plan.

Mr Bruton said: “Ireland is currently 86% reliant on fossil fuel. We must radically reduce this dependence and make the transition to cleaner, more renewable energy.

“We are exiting from peat and coal to generate electricity and moving to clean, renewable sources of power, like wind and solar.

“The Renewable Energy Support Scheme is a flagship Government policy 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.”

Mr Bruton said that installed wind capacity has grown by 50% since 2015.

The auction could see capacity grow by 30% in the next three years, with solar and community participation.

According to the Environment Minister, this is the equivalent of powering up to 640,000 homes every day.

I am keen that communities where renewable energy projects are being built are included in the project’s development Richard Bruton

The RESS is an auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.

The Government has agreed the proposed elements of the scheme, which are subject to state aid approval.

The scheme will be open to a range of technologies that will broaden the renewable energy mix and enhance security of supply while the Government has approved the inclusion of a solar category.

The Government has approved the inclusion of a community category within the auction, which include schools and sports clubs.

Every project developer will be obligated to contribute to a community benefit fund at a rate of two euro (£1.70) per mega watt hour every year.

This will generate a minimum amount of up to six million euro (£5.11 million) for communities living in close proximity to renewable projects each year.

The RESS will also mandate that Irish citizens or communities will have access to investment opportunities in renewable energy projects, prioritising those citizens that live in close proximity to the projects.

Mr Bruton added: “I am keen that communities where renewable energy projects are being built are included in the project’s development.

“The Government have agreed to make this a strong element of the scheme.

“I am pleased to confirm that work on the establishment of an enabling framework to support community projects and participation is well under way and will intensify in the New Year.”

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