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Environment, Climate and Communications | On and off-shore alternative energy production progress

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which progress is being made towards alternative energy production in the past year with particular reference to specific instances of on and offshore wind electricity-generation and any other emergency energy storage or generating projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is the primary policy for the delivery of renewable electricity in a sustainable, cost effective and secure framework, in the context of Ireland’s up to 80% renewable electricity target by 2030.

59 projects are currently progressing through delivery milestones under the first renewable electricity support scheme auction (RESS 1). RESS 1 is expected to deliver 1,022MW of new renewable generation, 569MW of solar and 453MW of wind, an approximate 15% increase in Ireland’s current renewable energy generation capacity by the end of 2023.

To date, 11 projects equalling 353MW of new renewable generation have already connected to the grid under RESS 1, pushing grid connected renewables above 5GW. Between RESS 1 and Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs), it is anticipated that over 700 MW of new renewables will be connected to the grid in 2022, with over 300MW of connections expected next year under RESS 1.

The most recent RESS 2 auction is expected to deliver an additional increase of nearly 20% to Ireland’s renewable energy generation. 80 projects were initially successful in RESS 2 and are expected to lead to 300 MW of wind and almost 1,500 MW of solar in 2024/25, with additional CPPAs likely to support the development of further wind and solar generation.

In terms of offshore, good progress has been made over the past year which demonstrate our commitment to delivering on our offshore renewable energy ambition including:

The development of the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) provides for long-term forward planning for Ireland’s maritime area and will enhance the effective management of marine activities and more sustainable use of our marine resources. The enactment of the Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Act 2021 has delivered a new legislative basis for the regulation of Ireland’s maritime area usage outside the 12 nautical mile coastal zone.

The Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA), to manage consenting, licensing and enforcement activities in our marine space is expected to be established and operational from early 2023.

Maritime Area Consent (MAC) applications opened in April for the first batch of offshore energy projects. This is the first stage in the new regulatory regime and involves a robust assessment of applicants to ensure that only the most viable developers gain entry to the planning system. My Department is currently assessing applications from a number of projects (Phase 1), and decisions on the first MACs are expected in the second half of this year. These projects will be eligible to compete in the first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1).

The CRU, assisted by EirGrid and my Department has a programme of actions underway to ensure the security of our electricity supply over the coming winters. The Security of Supply Programme of actions contains a number of both demand and supply side mitigation measures to address the forecasted shortfall, including temporary generation capacity.

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