Competition, not fixed prices proposed for next support round

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Up to 240 MW of wind energy projects are to be contracted under the next round of support for renewable energy in Ireland. Developers of large scale wind farms can get prices of up to IR£0.039/ kWh (EUR 0.0481/kWh), while prices for small scale wind will be up to IR£0.0417/kWh (EUR 0.0530/kWh). The minister for state at the Department of Public Enterprise announced details of the fifth round of the Alternative Energy Requirement at the Irish Wind Energy Association's annual conference on May 25. He revealed that 200 MW will be reserved for large scale wind, 40 MW for wind of less than 3 MW, 10 MW for biomass and 5 MW for small scale hydro. As expected, all projects must have planning consent to be eligible for the 15 year power purchase agreements with the Electricity Supply Board, but instead of the fixed-priced contracts widely expected, developers will have to bid for contracts in a competition to begin in August. But with just over 230 MW of projects already with planning consent compared with the 240 MW of contracts on offer, many in the wind industry see the bidding as a "non issue." Of more concern is the indexing of a mere 10% of bid price to the Consumer Price Index to allow for inflation, instead of the 100% indexation renewables plant owners are accustomed to.

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