The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme aims to promote the generation of electricity from renewable sources by providing financial support to renewable electricity projects in Ireland. We are here to support Communities who want to get involved.
Overview of RESS
The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) has been designed to promote investment in renewable energy generation in Ireland. Ireland has set a target of 70% renewable electricity, and an EU-wide renewable energy target of 32%, by 2030. This competitive auction based, cost effective framework will help us achieve these targets.
In addition RESS will help deliver
- Community ownership and partnership and
- Increased renewable technology diversity
RESS auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme. These auctions will be designed in line with trajectory targets identified in Ireland's National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).
Here at SEAI, we are offering support to our existing Community Network members on their journey to bid in the Community category of RESS auctions. We will help you navigate your way through the application.
We will be your point of contact for any queries on the community ownership and partnership aspect only.
For RESS queries related to non-community queries, you can contact Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) or Eirgrid.
Community aspects of RESS
There are two aspects of community participation in RESS.
- Community-Led Projects
- Community Benefit Fund
Community-led projects can apply for RESS if they meet the following criteria*:
- Application must be made in conjunction with a Sustainable Energy Community (SEC)
- Project size must be between 0.5 and 5MW
- Majority ownership (51%) - primary purpose is community benefit (environmental, economic or social) rather than financial profit. (The other 49% can be motivated by profit.); The Declaration of Community-Led Project must identify the SEC and the relationship between the Applicant and the SEC**
- Community group must be based on open and voluntary participation
- Participation based on local domicile (within close proximity to the RESS project)
An application for a Community-Led Project must be made in conjunction with a Sustainable Energy Community member. The SEC must be identified in the Declaration of a Community-Led Project, together with a description of the relationship between the Applicant and the Sustainable Energy Community.
*Note: the above criteria are based on the terms and conditions of RESS-1 and are subject to change under future auctions. Please refer to the relevant auction Terms and Conditions when available.
**In February 2021 it was announced that Community-led projects seeking to apply to future RESS auctions, must be 100% owned by the community, as opposed to being majority owned as outlined above for RESS-1. For more information on this please click here.
Community Benefit Fund
A mandatory Community Benefit Fund must be provided by all projects successful in a RESS auction. The contribution is to be set at €2/MWh. The Fund will be aligned to incentivise investment in local renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and climate action initiatives.The community benefit fund under RESS-1 will deliver approximately €4.5million a year to sustainable community initiatives targeted at those communities living in close proximity to the RESS-1 Projects.
The draft RESS Good Practice Principles Handbook for Community Benefit Funds can be found here. This Handbook provides guidance and recommendations in relation to good practice for setting up and administering Community Benefit Funds. Good practice should ensure there is successful operation and delivery of the Funds as well as provide clarity and transparency as to how Community Benefit Funds are being allocated across communities, ensuring they remain relevant and fit for purpose to best meet the needs and priorities of Irish communities over the lifetime of these projects.
The draft Handbook recently closed to public consultation on 24th May 2021. Feedback is now under review with the aim of finalising the Handbook for publication in early July 2021.
Expression of interest
Is your Community a member of the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community Network? If yes, and you have any queries about Community RESS or are interested in developing a community renewable energy project, please complete our revised expression of interest form and we will be in touch.
If you are not a member of the Network, please join today and then we can support you on your RESS journey.Yes, I am interested