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Environment, Climate and Communications | Alternative energy generation and investment projects

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the level of investment currently in hand and likely to improve the possibility of meeting emission targets; when each investment project is likely to come online, whether by alternative electricity generation methods, onshore or offshore; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the degree to which alternative electricity-generation projects are advanced to the extent of making emission targets realisable in the short to medium term; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which emission reductions are likely to be achieved by way of alternative methods of electricity generation in the future; the way in which this is likely to impact on achieving the target; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 significantly strengthens the legally binding framework for climate governance in Ireland, and the recently approved sectoral emission ceilings set out a clear pathway for meeting our carbon budgets and Ireland’s commitment to a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030.

These ceilings will be reflected in the next Climate Action Plan (CAP23), which is currently being developed and is due to be published by the end of 2022, building on the Climate Action Plan 2021 (CAP 21). CAP 21 set outs out a roadmap to deliver on Ireland’s climate targets and for the electricity sector includes a suite of measures and actions to increase the share of electricity demand generated from renewable sources to up to 80%.

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is one of the major Government policies to help deliver on this. The first RESS auction is expected to deliver circa 1,000 MW of new renewable generation, an approximate 15% increase in Ireland’s current renewable energy generation capacity by the end of 2023. Ireland is now at over 5 GW of onshore renewables, with approximately 700 MW expected to be connected before the end of this year, making 2022 a record year for new renewable generation. Ireland is third in the world for the share of electricity provided by onshore wind and this year the first large scale solar projects are now generating power.

The second RESS auction (RESS 2) was held this year and is expected to deliver an increase of nearly 20% in Ireland’s renewable energy generation by the end of 2025. At the end of October, my Department published a consultation on the design of the third RESS auction (RESS 3), which will take place next year. Further auction rounds are expected in future years and an updated RESS auction schedule will be published by the end of the year.

The Terms and Conditions on the first Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1) are due to be published later this month. This will be the first of three planned auctions this decade for the Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS).

Achieving climate targets through accelerating deployment of renewable energy sources will entail investment of tens of billions of euro, including in the installation and maintenance of generation assets, and associated infrastructure and services, as well as in the development of supply chains and port infrastructure. Significant investment in grid infrastructure is required to meet our renewables targets, with €4 billion capital investment allocated for EirGird for the period 2021-2025.

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