The Irish government has confirmed new details surrounding the country’s eagerly anticipated renewables auction, due to kick-off next year

Yesterday the country’s Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) published terms and conditions for the first round of its Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction, having earlier this month finally rubber-stamped preliminary details.

Included within the terms are details surrounding the inner-workings of the process, which will take a Contracts for Difference-styled auction based around potential projects coming forward with a strike price for generation.

The auction itself will be administered by Ireland’s transmission system operator EirGrid. The body will also decide on project qualifications for the auction, inviting qualifying projects to submit formal bid bonds prior to the auction date.

Bid bonds will take the form of a strike price – the lowest price at which the project can export electricity – ensuring projects a top-up payment should the country’s wholesale price dip below that figure.

Settlement periods will be hourly, and qualifying projects must commit to having meters installed by the TSO or relevant DSO.

In addition, projects must have full planning consent and a grid connection in order to compete, and developers must provide evidence of a project’s ‘financeability’ in order to apply. This can take the form of evidence of investment or sufficient equity to complete the project in question.

Solar projects must be between 1MW and 125MW in capacity to be considered.

There will be three separate categories for auctions, namely Community, Solar and All. Priority will be given to community projects first, then solar, and then other generation technologies falling into the ‘All’ pot, such as wind and hydro.

While the solar pot has no minimum auction result, a maximum of 300GWh – equivalent to around 300MW – will be contracted for within the first auction.

The full terms and conditions document can be found here.

Ireland’s RESS has been long in the making and details have been eagerly anticipated for a number of years. While a dedicated carve out for solar was welcomed, the Irish Solar Energy Association has said a limit of 10% of the auction’s total was “disappointing” considering the scale of ambition needed to meet Ireland’s decarbonisation targets.