Published: Fri, 12 May 2023
Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, expressed his support for the provisional results of the first offshore wind auction conducted under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1). As a competitive auction process, ORESS invites renewable energy projects to apply for contracts by submitting bids at the lowest possible prices for a twenty-year period of providing electricity.
The outcomes of the auction have surpassed all expectations, with over 3GW of capacity secured from four offshore wind projects. “To put this into perspective, the procured capacity accounts for over a third of Ireland’s entire electricity consumption this year”, said Kelly.
Kelly particularly highlights the competitive price achieved in this auction, which ranks among the lowest paid by any emerging offshore wind market worldwide. “The fact that the auction came in at an average of €86.05/MWh, vastly lower than what we see currently, is extremely positive and marks a big step forward for Ireland’s energy transition,” stated Kelly, a long-time member of the European Parliament’s Committee on industry and energy.
With an extensive focus on promoting renewable energy, Kelly played a pivotal role as the lead negotiator for the European Parliament’s largest group, the EPP, in shaping the Renewable Energy Directive during the previous parliamentary term. Currently, he holds the same position in negotiating the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), underscoring his commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions.
“While the completion and results of this auction are very encouraging, there is still plenty of work to do, and we need to see genuine commitment from the government to make further progress,” added Kelly. He further emphasized that “potential political opposition and objections to new electrical lines and cables pose significant obstacles to achieving renewable energy targets.”
Kelly also stressed the importance of “developing ports, not only to harness the potential of offshore wind but also to facilitate the production of green hydrogen as a replacement for the current fossil-based backup power system. I have long advocated for an Irish Hydrogen Strategy, and I hope we can see its implementation in the near future,” he added.
Recognizing the urgency of project implementation, Kelly called for “planning authorities to have the necessary personnel and technical capacity to expedite administrative processes”. To facilitate this, he has proposed “granting priority status in national law for public interest renewable energy projects, accompanied by a streamlining of planning and permitting procedures. Such measures would be crucial for a country like Ireland, enabling the timely realization of renewable energy projects.”