Wind farm developers have been granted improved access to the electricity transmission grid following a change to the rules that removes a significant market risk for them. After representations from EirGrid, the Commission for Energy Regulation has changed market access rules giving 1621 megawatts of wind power, representing 131 wind farms, the prospect of improved access to the electricity market.
Previously developers who had been offered connections to the grid before 2007 had to wait for associated reinforcement works to be completed before being allowed full market access rights. Now they will be able to avail of incremental levels of market access in line with the completion of network reinforcements. Studies completed to date by EirGrid indicate that 36 wind farms, totalling 529 MW, will get improved access to the grid following the rules change. The remaining studies will be completed by the end of the year.
Dermot Byrne, chief executive of EirGrid, says: “Ireland has some of the most ambitious renewable energy targets in Europe – 40% by 2020. While this undoubtedly presents challenges, EirGrid is committed to ensuring a secure, efficient, reliable power system which is capable of meeting these targets. We will continue to work closely with generators to find solutions to these challenges.”
He adds: “Measures such as this one are very positive and will allow generators to benefit from the incremental increases in network capacity resulting from work carried out under our Grid25 Grid Development Strategy. It also provides a stronger foundation for those who have not yet completed development to advance their projects.”