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SEM Chart of the Week

2020

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Take That: Will solar applications see the light of RESS?

Ellie Procter
Ellie Procter

The capacity available through the Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) will see competition high as the long-awaited subsidy scheme for renewables opens its auction doors on 16 June 2020. This was determined in our previous Chart of The Week (31/01), which saw the high demand for subsidy exacerbated by the limited capacity offered. The RESS will provide relief to new entrants offering renewable capacity, following the closure of the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff which did not include solar.

This week’s chart looks at the long queue of solar applications waiting outside EirGrid’s door that can bid into the RESS auction.

Let it shine, just let it shine

Currently, Ireland has a very limited solar capacity, with the Sustainable Energy Authority in Ireland observing no network connected solar in its 2019 Energy in Ireland report. To relinquish this dry spell, RESS has encouraged the application of new capacity through its ‘Solar Preference Category’. The category will accept a maximum of 300GWh (approximately 311MW solar equivalent) of solar Maximum Export Capacity (MEC), with a bid range of 1-125MW to be allowed.

We were holding back the flood

However, this preference category will likely be oversubscribed, with EirGrid seeing a surge of such to be processed as part of the 2018 ECP-1 batch. A total of 72 applications saw a sum of 1183MW of MEC offered, with 23 of which (offering 96MW) already issued. The remaining 49 applications, offering 1087MW of capacity in progress, are also eligible to rush through the auction doors to gain reach of the 300GWh of solar-only capacity available category under the proviso that they have a full grant of planning permission.

Hold up a light for me

EirGrid’s connection approval process has unfortunately built a sluggish reputation. With all ECP-1 projects, as well as projects that have previously been awarded connection agreements, potentially eligible to bid into the RESS auction, applicants will be queuing out the doors with the hopes to touch the 300GWh preference category.

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