Cornwall Insight’s ‘Route to RESS service’ has examined the potential capacity of wind and solar that could enter the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-2) auction in Ireland, with the analysis showing that approximately 1900MW (1800GWh) of solar and 1600MW (4800GWh) of wind energy is eligible to bid for the 3500GWh pot.
This analysis is based on Cornwall Insight’s unique ‘Pipeline tracker’, which assesses the viability based on a range of criteria across planning, grid connection status, route to market confirmations and ongoing project activity.
Cathal Ryan, Consultant at Cornwall Insight, said: “Recent announcements by Eirgrid indicate the RESS auction won’t close until August of next year. With a potential of up to 3500MW of wind energy and solar alone available, it is easy to see how thoughts turn to what and how much is likely to compete.
“The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) published the terms and conditions for the auction and increasing the pot to 3500GWh for RESS-2. Although this sends a positive message to developers, the amount in the pipeline far overshadows the pot size, so there are likely to be some disappointments.
“Alongside this, with no defined solar pot in RESS-2, it throws up some interesting questions around how the Evaluation Correction Factors (ECFs) will value solar in the auction. With solar providing a steady load throughout the day vs wind’s intermittent profile year-round and wind already having a lower levelised cost of energy (LCOE), solar will need some assistance to succeed in the auction.
“The delay to the RESS-2 – although expected – will infuriate many developers who are forced to wait yet again for another auction. It also begs the question of how Ireland is going to achieve the 2030 target it has set itself.
“The reasons for the delay are rooted in the Community/Citizen investment models being proposed. Although the changes may have been necessary, in light of the European-wide move to get more community involvement in the energy transition, it remains to be seen whether we will regret this delay as we move to 2030.”