Insights Blog

Terms and Conditions and the Timetable for RESS 4 are now available, with the qualification process opening on 20 May 2024.

The significant change in RESS 4 is the recognition that further mechanisms are needed to manage project delivery risk.  The Implementation Agreement for successful bidders will now provide for a Relief Event adjustment of up to 24 months where a Project cannot achieve a particular Milestone by the relevant Milestone Completion Date or Commercial Operation by the Longstop Date. A Relief Event is an event or circumstance or number of events or circumstances or combination thereof which results in or causes the failure of the Generator to perform any of its obligations under the Implementation Agreement. Relief Events are limited to:

  • System Operator Delay, a prerequisite of which is the TSO/DSO notifying the Generator that the Grid Connection Agreement longstop date will be or is reasonably likely to be delayed to a date after the RESS Longstop Date, by reason of an action or inaction by the TSO/DSO or an inability of the TSO/DSO to permit outages to accommodate the Generator’s connection. The delay has to be outside of the reasonable control of Generator, and not be as a result of an act, default or omission of the Generator.  It is important to note that the Generator must comply with very strict timelines to obtain Ministerial consent to secure the extension,
  • JR Delay, which requires that the Generator notifies the Minister as soon as practicable after the Generator becomes aware (and in any event no later than 20 Working Days after the occurrence of the event or, where the Judicial Review Challenge exists at the date of the Implementation Agreement, no later than 20 Working Days after the entry into the Implementation Agreement) that the Planning Permission is subject to a Judicial Review Challenge which will affect the Generator’s ability to achieve Commercial Operation by the Longstop Date.  At the same time the Generator notifies the Minister of a JR Delay, the Generator may request an extension to the Longstop Date and any related Milestone Completion Date which is directly affected.

A Relief Event would also potentially mean extension of the period of RESS 4 Support (but not beyond 31 December 2045).

In addition to this mechanism, the Longstop Date for achieving Commercial Operation will be set at 31 December 2029, which reflects a period around 18 months longer than in previous auctions, and is just over five years from the date final auction results are scheduled to be announced (25 September 2024).

As in RESS 3, there will be an Unrealised Available Energy Compensation (“UAEC”) with the intent of minimising the extent to which regulatory risk is factored into RESS auction bid prices. Compensation for constraints, however, is not included in the UAEC.

The market, whether involved in RESS or not, is in urgent need of clarity around grid risk, managed in a way that is compliant with EU law and which enables the system operators to develop accurate cost-benefit analyses for infrastructure development (so as to truly reflect the cost of inadequate enabling infrastructure in order to better target efficient investment). Key interacting priorities are the need to have accurate constraints data and clear implementation of firm access policy, as well clarity around if and when it will be possible for generators to submit market-based bids in the balancing market.