It has been a busy week for climate action in Ireland with the submission of a proposed carbon budget programme to the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, and the launch of the second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.

The carbon budget programme, along with sectoral emissions ceilings, is a new mechanism provided under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Acts 2015 to 2021. We consider the proposal and its interaction with commitments under EU law in our briefing here. In recent days the Environmental Protection Agency has also published its latest figures on GHG emissions indicating some reduction in 2020, but cautioning that this was mostly due to a short term decrease in transport because of COVID-19.

RESS 2 kicks off today with final auction results scheduled to occur on 14 June 2022. As compared to the draft RESS 2 terms and conditions, published in June 2021, the final terms and conditions push dates out by three months and reduce the required quantum for bid bonds and performance security. The final terms and conditions also reference the increase in Ireland's ambition - mentioned recently in the National Development Plan - of meeting 80% (up from 70%) of electricity demand by renewable power by 2030.

Timely roll out of RESS auctions is very positive for Ireland's renewable power sector, providing a clear line of sight of route to market. As the second onshore auction (and soon, the first offshore auction, which we looked at here) progresses, stakeholders will be keen to see further clarification on other aspects of the regulatory framework, such as the implementation of Articles 12 and 13 of the Internal Market in Electricity Regulation.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.