Ireland: Final Consultation On Ireland's Renewable Electricity Support Scheme

The Irish Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE) has published what it describes as the "final" consultation on the design and development of a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) for Ireland. In the interests of securing the next generation of Irish renewable electricity project, interested parties are urged to engage with this process. This may be the final opportunity to do so and submissions or comments will be accepted up to 4pm on Friday, 3 November 2017.

The Irish government is pursuing a target of 40% electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020 in order to meet the obligations imposed on Ireland by the 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive.  Between 2009 and 2015, the pursuit of this target was supported by the availability in Ireland of three REFIT feed-in tariff schemes. 

However, the last of the REFIT schemes closed to new applicants at the end of 2015. Since the publication of DCCAE's White Paper entitled 'Ireland's Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030' (White Paper) in late 2015, the Irish government has repeatedly flagged its intention to develop a successor support scheme. The latest RESS consultation is a close-to-final stage in that development process. 

The new RESS scheme is being designed with the objectives of maintaining the target 2020 level of 40% RES-E out to 2030, as well as delivering sufficient renewable electricity to meet any additional national and EU renewable energy and decarbonisation targets that may be imposed.

In addition to attaining target volumes of renewable energy, and consistent with standard international practice, RESS aims to control support costs by setting strike prices through the use of auctions.

A RESS rehearsal

The RESS consultation is structured around an "emerging scheme design" which represents DCCAE's current position following an initial public consultation that it published in 2015, and a series of economic assessment papers that it has commissioned.

The key aspects of this design are:

  • Community participation as a condition of RESS support. Community participation in Irish renewable energy has been an expressed priority of DCCAE since its White Paper.  It is now proposed that a pre-qualification criterion for a project's participation in the RESS will be that "the community" has been offered an opportunity to invest in that project.

    A framework of "Trusted Intermediaries" and "Trusted Advisors" is also proposed in order to facilitate this community participation. In our view, this design element carries the potential to mire the RESS scheme in complexity and puts it at risk of falling foul of retail investment regulations. It could also lead to local disputes at the margins of whatever is ultimately defined to be the relevant "community" for a particular project. These requirements are also likely to favour the larger developers and may, perversely, make smaller community-scale projects unviable.
  • The use of "pay-as-cleared" auction mechanisms to allocate support. Auctions were never a feature of the REFIT support schemes. As a result, the Irish development sector will need to reconfigure its approach to procurement so that a sufficient number of competing projects can participate effectively in any auction process. Lessons learnt in GB's CfD programme are likely to be of benefit here. The door has also, potentially, been left open for exceptions to the auction process for small-scale generation or emerging technologies.
  • "Floating Feed-In-Premium" as the form of support. Although not defined in detail, this appears to be equivalent to a contract for difference. Again, experience acquired in relation to the GB CfD programme should prove useful here.
  • Auction "size" denominated in energy (MWh), rather than generating capacity (MW). Payments under the REFIT support schemes were denominated, for each supported project, by capacity (MW) and period of support.  By contrast, it is proposed that support payments under RESS will be denominated by energy (MWh).  Receiving support payments that are denominated in MWh, while also facing financing costs that are calculated per period, requires a participating developer to have a firm view of the likely lifetime performance of its project.  It does, however, provide greater budgetary certainty to the Irish government.
  • Flexibility as to the type of generating technology that will be supported. Despite the occasional reference in the consultation paper to "technology neutrality", DCCAE's clear emphasis is on preserving its freedom to target specific renewable generation technologies for support. This is consistent with the White Paper's contemplation that bioenergy, solar photovoltaic (PV) and offshore energy will be included in Ireland's energy mix as they become cost-effective. A genuine "technology neutrality" approach might, by contrast, be expected to favour the lowest cost technology at the expense of all others.
  • Flexibility as to the extent and timing of the auctions. DCCAE expresses a preference for "auctioning ... smaller volumes annually or biennially", but provides no further details. This suggests that longevity in the Irish renewable development sector will require agility, and an appetite for repeated engagement with the auction process. This flexibility is reflected in the consultation's treatment of technological neutrality. DCCAE reserves its right to amend auction categories on a yearly basis, with "look backs" to identify viability gaps. These can then be addressed by targeting specific emerging renewable technologies for support.

Of some concern is the fact that the consultation does not include a comprehensive treatment of the relationship between RESS support and other necessary permits. However, there is a suggestion that planning permission and grid connection may serve as preconditions for participation in the scheme. Given that:

  • an auction participant will need a well-developed view of the likely lifetime performance of its project, and
  • lifetime project performance will be influenced by future grid development and the connection of interacting projects,

a more explicit discussion of connection policy, which is currently under review by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, would have been helpful. 

It remains to be seen whether DCCAE will address these issues explicitly in the RESS scheme when it is finally published and implemented. As an alternative, the market may be left to form its own assessment as to the level of risk associated with these and other points.


The Irish government's latest RESS consultation is a welcome development towards meeting Ireland's future electricity-related climate goals. It has the potential to establish a sustainable and competitive support scheme for renewable energy that draws upon lessons learnt in the neighbouring GB market. 

In particular, the GB auction results of September 2017, following the second CfD round, look extremely attractive from a value-for-money perspective. However, in order for similarly attractive prices to be achieved in Ireland, significant structural reforms need to be made to Ireland's consenting and grid connection regimes. No concrete steps have been taken yet to address these issues. 

Initial indications are that large-scale on-shore wind, and perhaps solar, are best placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new RESS. However, there is also the potential for elements of the proposed scheme to prevent its efficient implementation, by introducing unnecessary complexity. 

Industry participants are urged to make their views, on all aspects of the scheme, known to DCCAE before 4pm on Friday, 3 November 2017.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions