RESS-3 Provisional List of Projects AnnouncedWednesday, 04 October 2023
On 26 September, EirGrid published the provisional results of the third auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The scheme is a major constituent of the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan 2023 as part of its effort to realise Ireland’s target of at least 80% renewable electricity by 2030.
The provisional list of ‘winners’ included 23 projects comprised of 20 solar farms (giving rise to 497.6MW of capacity) and 3 onshore wind farms (comprising 148.4MW of capacity). In order to have been deemed eligible to participate in the auction, each of these projects must already hold, inter alia, a full and final grant of planning permission and a grid connection offer or agreement.
In a departure from previous auctions, there was no split into separate categories this year. All projects competed in a single category with no preference for community-led renewable electricity projects.
Overall, the industry’s response to the publication of the provisional list has been one of disappointment. Given this is the third auction under RESS, many would have expected average strike prices to fall and the number of successful projects to rise. However, the provisional average strike price for successful projects was €100.47/MWh, higher than previous auctions.
There was also a significant shortfall in the number of successful projects (i.e. 23) when compared with the previous two auctions with 82 and 80 successful projects respectively. The decrease does not appear to be due to a lower success rate of projects with this in line with previous auctions. Of the 31 projects who submitted an offer price in respect of the auction, only eight projects were unsuccessful.
Wind Energy Ireland stated “the critical issue remains the failure of the Irish planning system to meet its timelines for processing applications for renewable energy projects”, pointing to the fact that no onshore wind farm was granted planning approval by An Bord Pleanála in the past twelve months. This has resulted in a number of renewables projects deemed ineligible for the RESS-3 auction.
On a more positive note, international renewable energy developers still appear to be interested in developing and operating renewable wind and solar farms in Ireland with SSE Renewables securing 101MW of capacity for its Yellow River Wind Farm in County Offaly and Ørsted securing 81MW for its Garreenleen Solar Farm.
Final results of the auction are due to be published on Wednesday, 11 October. In the meantime, the projects appearing in the provisional list will be looking firmly towards firming up on existing financing arrangements that were a pre-requisite to competing in the RESS-3 auction and proceeding with appointments of their teams of professional advisors and contractors. Successful projects must be exporting power by the longstop date of 30 April 2027 if they are to comply with the RESS-3 Terms and Conditions.
In order to view the RESS-3 Provision Auction Results, please click here.