Guaranteed prices for offshore wind energy proposed by Government

Scheme would see offshore developers bid in auction to determine electricity prices

National electricity grid operator Eirgrid will hold the first Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction for offshore wind next year. Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters

National electricity grid operator Eirgrid will hold the first Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction for offshore wind next year. Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters

 

The Government is seeking feedback on proposals to back offshore wind energy projects with guaranteed prices.

The State aims to have offshore wind farms capable of generating up to 5,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity – almost equivalent to the Republic’s peak demand – operating by the end of the decade.

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications on Monday sought feedback from developers on the first auction designed to determine prices at which offshore projects will sell their electricity.

National electricity grid operator Eirgrid will hold the first Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction for offshore wind next year.

Under the scheme, developers will bid the prices at which they are willing to sell electricity. The auction will favour the lower bids.

A levy on all electricity users will cover the cost if developers’ prices are higher than market rates.

The department has published the scheme’s terms and conditions. Interested parties have until December 6th to submit their views on the proposals.

Supplying power

Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, predicted that offshore wind would play a part in supplying power to homes, businesses and transport.

“It will also play a key role in meeting our climate goals: to reduce overall emissions by 51 per cent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050,” he added.

Offshore wind developers warn that Government delays in issuing foreshore licences needed to survey project sites would prevent the State from reaching its 5,000MW goal.

Proposed legislation due for debate by the Oireachtas this term will modernise the State’s 90-year-old offshore licensing system and create a marine regulator.

However, the industry argues that this will come too late for many projects and wants the Government to extend a fast-track licensing scheme currently available to some developers to more companies.