Making an application under Ireland's Renewable Energy Support Scheme 2

Out-Law Guide | 22 Dec 2021 | 11:26 am | 5 min. read

Applications are now open for projects planning to bid for the second of Ireland’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auctions.

The qualification application date window opened on 7 December 2021 and will close on 13 January 2022, with the auction set to take place in May 2022, according to the timetable published in October (3 page / 213 KB PDF).

RESS is a support scheme aimed at incentivising and increasing the supply of power to Ireland’s electricity grid from renewable energy sources. The Irish government announced in October 2021 it was increasing its target for the delivery of electricity through renewable energy from 70% to 80% by 2030.

The scheme is based on a contract for differences (CfD) structure and is operating through a series of competitive auctions, with each auction intended to evolve so as to fit with Ireland’s generation needs and facilitate competing or complimentary technologies.

EirGrid published a Qualification Information Pack for RESS 2 (8 page / 300KB PDF) on 23 November 2021, setting out the requirements to apply for qualification for the process and linking to the necessary documents which must be filled in.

Auction platform and registration

All applications for RESS 2 qualification must be made through the RESS auction platform. Applicants were asked to register prior to the qualification application date, and then issued with a link to the platform and a guide to its use.

As part of the registration process, applicants must complete and submit a RESS Authorised User (RAU) form via the auction platform in PDF format. The RAU form will outline who will be authorised to submit an application for qualification under RESS 2.

The RAU form must be signed by a director and proof of all directors of the company must also be provided and submitted on this form.

In addition, all applicants must provide an Enduring Connection Policy (ECP) or grid reference number as part of their registration.

All documents and declarations should be completed, printed, signed by the relevant director, scanned as a PDF and uploaded to the RESS auction platform. In addition, all documents required for the RESS 2 application must be sent by registered post to the RESS Operations Team in EirGrid offices.

Essential documents

There are a number of essential documents which must be filed as part of the application and auction process.

Each qualified applicant (other than those for community zero-bond projects) must provide a bid bond to EirGrid by the bid bond posting date, which is currently 5pm on 13 January 2022. The bid bond value is €6 per MWh, where the MWh value is the Deemed Energy Quantity for one

year for the project as calculated pursuant to the RESS 2 terms and conditions, and the bond must be submitted by way of cash security.

If the applicant is successful in the auction, but fails to enter into an implementation agreement and post a performance security (where applicable) by the implementation agreement and performance security return date, then the project will have its award rescinded and will not receive a letter of offer. In addition, EirGrid, as transmission system operator (TSO), will be entitled to draw down the full amount of the bid bond.

A landowner consent confirmation form is also required, detailing the geographic coordinates of the project site and confirmation that the applicant has possession and control of the site, and sufficient rights to access the site for the purposes of developing and operating the project.

After submitting an application for qualification, applicants can withdraw by issuing a notice of withdrawal to the TSO before 5pm on 22 March 2022. Notices of withdrawal are irrevocable once received by the TSO.

Review of decisions

Applicants who consider that EirGrid has not applied the terms and conditions correctly in its provisional qualification decision can submit an application for review to the TSO, including details of the specific terms and conditions which the applicant considers have not been correctly applied by the TSO. This application for review must be submitted on the RESS auction platform with all supporting evidence within two working days of the receipt by the applicant of the provisional qualification decision. The provisional qualification decision date is 4 March 2022, with the application for review closing date being the 8 March 2022 and the application for review decision date being 22 March 2022 respectively.

An applicant who considers that the TSO decision in relation to an application for review has not applied the terms and conditions correctly in the provisional qualification decision or the application for review, can submit a notice of dissatisfaction to the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, with a copy sent to the TSO, within two working days or receipt of the TSO decision on the application for review. The notice of dissatisfaction by participants date is 29 March 2022.

The notice must include a brief description of the basis of the dissatisfaction with the TSO decision; and the specific terms and conditions which the applicant considers have not been correctly applied by the TSO.

Directors’ declarations

A total of eight separate directors’ declarations must be attached to the application for qualification in RESS 2. If any statements made in these declarations are found to be untrue or inaccurate, legal penalties in respect of an inaccurate sworn affidavit can be imposed, the project will be disqualified from RESS 2 and the applicant will be prohibited from participating in any RESS competitions for five years.

If a declaration is found to be false before or after the RESS 2 auction has been held, the participation of the project may be terminated, the letter of offer revoked, and the full amount of any bid bond or performance security in place may be drawn down by EirGrid or the government.

These forms include:

  • a declaration of planning consent;
  • a declaration of grid connection;
  • a declaration that the project can be financed at the offer price submitted;
  • a declaration that the project is a new project;
  • a declaration of bidding independence, including confirmation that the applicant has complied with relevant competition legislation;
  • a declaration that the project meets the requirements for a community-led project;
  • a declaration that the project will not import electricity from sources other than RESS 2, metering and storage; and
  • a declaration confirming any relationship with a RESS 1 project.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must apply to the correct preference category. There are two categories: the ‘all projects category’ or the ‘community preference category’. Those applying to the latter category must be 100% community-owned, with a minimum offer quantity of 0.5MW and a maximum offer quantity of 5MW.

The ‘all projects’ preference category excludes community zero-bond projects, although community-led projects are still eligible if a bid bond and performance security are offered. The minimum offer quantity remains 0.5MW, with the maximum offer the MW equivalent of 600GWh/year. In the all projects category, solar projects and hybrid solar and storage projects will have an Evaluation Correction Factor of 0.90 while all of the other types of relevant eligible technologies will have an Evaluation Correction Factor of 1.

Applicants cannot aggregate smaller projects to achieve the minimum offer quantity for a preference category, unless they organise one single project behind a single meter and a single applicant entity that meets all of the qualification requirements under the terms and conditions.

Co-written by Shani Stallard of Pinsent Masons. Pinsent Masons has prepared a RESS 2 Application Checklist document, contact Garrett Monaghan or Richard Murphy for a copy.