Disappointing energy auction highlights need for urgent reform

26 Sep 2023

Climate Action Plan targets ‘unachievable’ without Government action.

Wind Energy Ireland has described the results of today’s renewable energy auction as extremely disappointing and said that they highlight the need for urgent reform of how we develop wind and solar farms in Ireland.

Today’s results for the third onshore auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) delivered the smallest volume of renewable energy of any auction to date and for the highest price. Previous onshore RESS auctions were repeatedly criticised by Wind Energy Ireland for failing to deliver renewable energy at the best possible price for consumers.

The average price of €100.47 per MWh was, disappointingly, up on the RESS 2 price of €97.87 per MWh but the increase could have been even higher had the Government not provided partial indexation in this auction and factored curtailment into the terms and conditions of the auction.

Contracts were awarded to only three wind farms for a total capacity of 148 MW and to just under 500 MW of solar. These are far lower than any previous RESS auction.

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said: “The wind and solar projects which were successful in today’s auction deserve to be congratulated and will help to decarbonise our energy system.

“But we cannot ignore the reality that this is the third auction for onshore wind and solar and when we should be seeing prices going down, and the volume of renewable energy winning contracts rising, we are seeing the exact opposite. At a time when we should be accelerating the delivery of renewable energy, we are slowing down.”

The critical issue remains the failure of the Irish planning system to meet its timelines for processing applications for renewable energy projects.

Noel Cunniffe continued: “This week marks one year since the last onshore wind farm received planning permission from An Bord Pleanála. Dozens of wind energy projects are in planning limbo. They are supposed to get their decisions in 18 weeks but the average decision time for a wind project is well over 90 weeks.

“We are living in an energy and climate crisis but we do not have a planning system that has been given the resources, the expertise and the personnel to deliver.”

Wind Energy Ireland went on to call on the Government to urgently review the development of renewable energy and the RESS auction system.

Noel Cunniffe concluded: “The system isn’t working. We cannot achieve make Ireland more energy-independent and achieve our 2030 Climate Action Plan targets this way.

“We are calling on the Government to meet with ourselves and with our colleagues in the solar industry to review the auction design ahead of next year’s auction and to examine the entire system for delivering onshore renewable energy in Ireland.

“Business as usual doesn’t cut it anymore.”


CEO Noel Cunniffe on RTÉ Six One News, 26 September 2023