Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
68. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of the calculations used by his Department to set the direct annual monetary contribution by the developer into the fund in a renewable energy support scheme at €2MW/h; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53513/21]
All projects successful in a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction must establish a Community Benefit Fund and the contribution for each project is set at €2 per Megawatt-hour.
The contribution level of €2 per Megawatt-hour was set after research by international consultancies in the design of the scheme and was publicly consulted on with relevant stakeholders through the RESS consultation process. This contribution will provide higher benefits to local communities than was standard across the industry prior to RESS.
For the first RESS auction alone this means almost €4 million being made available annually for the benefit of local communities. These funds will be aligned to incentivise investment in local renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and climate action initiatives in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is anticipated that the first RESS projects will commence operation by the end of this year following which communities can look forward to receiving benefit fund payments in their areas.
My Department has published the RESS Community Benefit Fund Good Practice Principles Handbook which lays out how the new funds will be managed and administered and the need to ensure community participation in fund decision-making via the establishment of a local committee.
In addition, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has activated the Community Benefit Fund National Register. This register will track all projects and payments made over the lifetime of the Community Benefit Funds and it will be publicly available. This will provide clarity and transparency as to how the Funds are being allocated in communities across the country.