82 renewable energy projects have been given the green light following the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction.
Solar farms made up the majority of successful applications to the scheme as 63 such projects received funding, while onshore wind farms accounted for 19 projects. The financial support will typically last for approximately 15 years for each successful application.
Seven of these projects are community-led, which Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan said will be supported, “to produce their own power and share in the ownership of Ireland’s energy revolution, while inspiring others to follow”.
The scheme is the first of its kind to be led by the Irish Government and it will allocate over €1.5 billion and will create one thousand jobs, according to the Department of Climate Action. Following the construction of these projects, the country will have 160 new wind turbines and approximately 1,750 hectares of solar panels.
The energy produced by these farms will be an “important component” of the 2019 Climate Action Plan, according to the Auction Results report. The Plan, launched by the last Fine Gael-led government, aims to see 70 per cent of the country’s electricity provided by renewable sources.
The growth of wind-generated energy
Wind-generated electricity from onshore farms now provide over a quarter of Ireland’s electricity, up nearly four per cent from the year before. When accumulated with other non-fossil fuel energy sources, about one third of our electricity is now renewably generated.
There is however still a long way to go to meet the goals of the Climate Action Plan, as the document wishes to see that figure more than double over the next ten years. In addition to meeting its climate targets, the coalition of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party will also depend on offshore wind.
According to the Programme for Government, the first RESS auction for offshore wind is set to go ahead next year.
Ireland, according to the document, has “massive potential” for the sector due to its Atlantic coastline.