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REFIT extension and avoiding EU fines

James Goldsmith Senior Consultant (Ireland)

The Government is staring into a substantial head wind of between €98mn and €500mn in EU fines for missing 2020 energy targets. The Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS), the mechanism that was supposed to add further renewable capacity to the system to avoid those fines, has yet to get out of the starting blocks. So, is there anything the government can do to save the tax payer from these fines? The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has put forward a simple proposal to do just that: an extension to the REFIT 2 scheme. In this week’s chart of the week we look at whether it would work, and what other options are currently available to the government    Extending REFIT The extension of REFIT 2, it is argued, would allow the required number of projects from renewable sources to be built to meet our 2020 energy targets. The two primary sources of these additional MWs would be from: wind: 1,175MW capacity potential, and biomass conversion of peat: 121MW (renewables potential) The suggested extension to the REFIT timeline is to push the closing date for energisation out to December 2020. This would prevent projects coming up against the hard deadline for energisation – currently set at 31 March 2020 – thus allowing them to be financed with a lower timeline for delivery risk. IWEA suggests this can be done at the discretion of the minister and that State Aid approval would not be required, receiving legal advice to support this. The chart in ...

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