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Future of Electricity use in Ireland

What will the electricity system in Ireland look like in 2030?

A recent report titled – “Our Zero e-Mission Future” by MaREI (the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine) asked just that question and came to a number of possible answers that could have interesting implications for business energy customers in Ireland over the next 10 years.

By 2030 the Irish government have targeted having 70% of electricity be sourced from renewable energy, however, a significant expansion of the current electricity supply available will be required to offset the new electricity loads (charging your electric car) demand and expansion of existing data centre infrastructure.

Investment in grid infrastructure and inter connectors (with Northern Ireland, Britain and France) will be needed to offset the effects of the days when the wind (or “the System Non-Synchronous Penetration (SNSP) level is to increase to over 85%”). However, this could be potentially exacerbated by the fact that we largely share the same weather as Britain and France.

Only with the benefit of these interconnects can the SNSP level be maintained at a level that will allow the grid to function during cold, windless, cloudy weather when electrical demand will be high but supply from wind energy will be low. Conventional electricity generation will be required to provide energy and flexibility in the supply of energy by 2030 but longer-term planning is needed to decarbonise this infrastructure beyond 2030.

Clearly there are implications for electrical business users in terms of installing energy storage, switching to night heating, or taking similar measures to offset electricity costs in this future highly renewable dependent energy system.

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