Energy Update: No Longer Refit For Purpose

Author:Mr Garret Farrelly
Profession:Matheson
 
FREE EXCERPT

On 4 February 2019, the Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment refused a request from the Irish Wind Energy Agency (“IWEA”) to grant an extension to REFIT 2 deadlines.

Background

The Irish Government has since 2009 supported the development of renewable electricity in Ireland through the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (“REFIT”). The various REFIT schemes (REFIT 1, REFIT 2 and REFIT 3) have provided certainty to Irish renewable energy projects by effectively guaranteeing a minimum 'floor price' for a 15 year period.

REFIT 2 was introduced to help onshore wind, hydro and biomass landfill gas technologies contribute to Ireland's 2020 energy targets.

REFIT 2 has been closed for applications since 31 December 2015. Projects that applied before that date and which want to avail of REFIT 2 support must meet certain deadlines - in particular, they must be connected to the grid by 31 March 2020. IWEA proposed a grace period to extend this deadline to 31 December 2020 to facilitate additional renewable energy being added to the Irish grid and to avoid a situation where otherwise viable projects would be abandoned for fear that the deadline might not be met.

The Minister rejected the grace period proposed by IWEA.

What Next?

The Irish Government announced a competitive auction-based successor to REFIT last year - the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (“RESS”).

A high level design paper outlining the key characteristics of RESS was published in July 2018. However, since that date there appears to have been very little progress made. In particular, we have not seen a detailed design...

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