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Environment, Climate and Communications | Exploring electricity generation from non-fossil fuels by way of wind, wave or solar

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which his Department continues to explore electricity generation from non-fossil fuels by way of wind, wave or solar; the full extent of the investment in each element of the sector to date; the degree to which he expects such investment to materialise on an annual basis over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Bernard J. Durkan.

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 15th December, 2022.

(675  Received on 12th December, 2022.)


The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is one of the major Government policies to help deliver on Ireland’s target to increase the share of electricity generation from renewable sources to up to 80% and accelerate renewables to deliver on the electricity sectoral carbon budgets. While the primary policy objective of RESS is the delivery of renewable electricity in a sustainable, cost-effective, and secure framework, the broader policy objectives delivered under RESS include technology diversification and support for community ownership and participation.

The RESS auctions provide pathways for renewable developers to plan and develop their projects, with supported technologies including, but not limited to, onshore wind, solar, and hybrids (co-located wind, solar, and/or storage), with offshore wind projects participating under the dedicated Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS). This method allows Ireland to take advantage of new technologies as they emerge.

The first RESS auction, RESS 1, was held in 2020, with 4 projects having already completed the RESS process and a further 57 projects continuing to work through the delivery milestones to reach commercial operation by the end of 2023 at the latest. The first projects in the RESS 1 process reached energisation in Q4 2021, with others reaching that milestone throughout 2022, including the first grid-scale solar project. As a result 2022 is estimated to be a record year for new renewable generation being connected to the grid.

The second RESS auction, RESS 2, was held earlier 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. The Terms and Conditions on the first ORESS auction, ORESS 1, were published in November this year. This will be the first of three planned auctions this decade under the ORESS.

Further auction rounds are expected in future years and an updated RESS auction schedule will be published shortly.

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