RESS been approved by Government and I will now seek EU State Aid approval. This Scheme will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to a more market-oriented mechanism (auctions) where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators. The RESS is a critical step in bringing Ireland to a leadership role in relation to renewable energy, climate action, and energy efficiency. Communities are central to the design of the new Scheme and this will have a transformative impact on renewable energy projects right across the country.
Theoretically, this should lead to lower electricity prices but let's wait to see the finer details of how it will work. The Press Release mentions the importance of not locking in higher costs for consumers - surely the first time an Irish minister has acknowledged that the existing REFIT scheme led to higher electricity prices.
RESS auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme. This will allow Ireland to take advantage of falling technology costs and by not auctioning all the required capacity at once, we will not be 'locking in' higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme.
In the submission made by Irish Energy Blog to the consultation on the scheme (which can be read here), I outlined a scheme that would allow a low cost alternative to the fixed price REFIT scheme, which of course wasn't adopted, but I did warn about locking society into high energy costs :
This would ensure that our society is not locked into high energy costs for many years to come.
The proposed auction scheme still requires EU State Aid approval.