Cornwall Insight comments on Ireland’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme results

Commenting on the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) results announced yesterday Conall Bolger, Head of Energy Markets at Cornwall Insight, said: 

“Yesterday was a good day for the Irish renewables industry; with the level of supported renewables capacity set to grow by over a quarter in the next 2-3 years.

“796MW of solar projects securing contracts will grab the headlines but the wind industry is not a loser here. While the capacity of winning projects was lower, 479MW, higher wind capacity factors mean that nearly twice the volume of onshore wind output will be supported than solar.

“The average published prices obscures the variation in the individual bid prices. Having modelled Irish solar projects, it’s clear that developers placed reasonably lean bids to secure contracts. A lot of the wind projects are likely to be operating under less generous pricing than under previous Renewable Energy Feed-in-Tariff (REFIT) contracts.

“The all projects category average price is higher than the pure solar average price. This suggests that several higher-priced solar projects didn’t or couldn’t win in the solar category and secured contracts in the all projects category.

“The fact that Irish renewables auction delivered higher prices than recent renewable auctions in other jurisdictions may raise some questions around project costs in Ireland. The decision to not include inflation meant that operational cost elements of a bid could increase 20-30%. That may need reconsideration for future auctions.

“The focus for many now shifts to ESB Networks delivering connections to meet the RESS delivery deadlines.”