(OW) Ireland has selected four projects with a combined capacity of nearly 3,100 MW in the first offshore wind auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1).
The four projects are the 1,300 MW Codling Wind Park owned and developed by a 50/50 joint venture of Fred. Olsen Seawind and EDF Renewables; the 824 MW Dublin Array owned and developed by RWE; the 500 MW North Irish Sea Array (NISA), owned and developed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Statkraft; and the 450 MW Sceirde Rocks wind farm owned and developed by Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta (FST), a joint venture owned by Corio Generation, a portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, and global infrastructure investor, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
According to Ireland’s Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Communications, the auction results have surpassed expectations, both in terms of the total volume of renewable energy procured and the low price at which it has been secured.
The ministry said that the price secured, at an average of EUR 86.05/MWh, is one of the lowest prices paid by an emerging offshore wind market in the world. For context, a maximum offer price under the auction rules was set at EUR 150/MWh.
For comparison, the average wholesale electricity price in Ireland over the past 12 months was in excess of EUR 200/MWh. It is expected that this price will save Irish electricity consumers hundreds of millions of euros per year, the Ministry said.
This was the largest volume of renewable energy Ireland has ever procured at auction — equivalent to over a third of Ireland’s entire electricity consumption this year and over a quarter of projected 2030 electricity demand. It is also enough to power over 2.5 million Irish homes with clean electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over one million tonnes in 2030, according to the MInistry.
The results are provisional and are subject to the normal RESS confirmation and State Aid processes, both of which are expected to be complete by mid-June.
Under the community benefit fund provisions of ORESS 1, the successful projects are required to make payments to local marine and coastal communities hosting offshore renewable energy projects. These communities will now benefit from over EUR 24 million per year, beginning before construction and continuing for up to 20 years after a project begins to produce renewable energy.
”The provisional results of the ORESS 1 auction are not just a hugely positive story for Irish energy consumers, but for Ireland as a whole. The results are further evidence of what many of us have known for a long time; that we, as a nation, can develop and produce enormous quantities of clean energy – securely and at low cost,” Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, said.
”My Department is developing further offshore wind auctions to bring us closer to this energy-independent future, while also chairing the whole-of-Government Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce to maximise the benefits to the economy, local communities, and the environment.”
The ORESS 1 auction was open to six offshore wind projects under the Phase 1 of the Irish government’s offshore wind programme, which is co-ordinated across the government by the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce, chaired by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
The Final Competition Ratio (FCR), which is a mechanism designed to drive competition on price between bidders thereby reducing costs to consumers, means that four projects were successful under ORESS 1.
Unsuccessful projects may still find a route to market via a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA), an arrangement whereby a company procures renewable electricity through a direct contractual agreement with a renewable electricity generator, or a future ORESS auction, the Ministry said.
All six Phase 1 projects held Maritime Area Consents (MACs) issued by the Department in December 2022 under the Maritime Area Planning Act 2021 and successfully underwent the ORESS 1 qualification process.