Ireland has passed a key renewable milestone as installed wind capacity now exceeds 2GW. That is enough power capacity to supply the needs of up to 1.3 million households on the island, depending on weather conditions. This is compared to just a quarter of that capacity connected a decade ago.
Fintan Slye, director of operations at EirGrid, the company responsible for planning and operating the transmission system, comments: “Ireland and Northern Ireland have huge renewable energy potential and EirGrid is committed to ensuring this potential is developed throughout the island as a whole. We now have over 2GW of installed wind and are at times operating with wind supplying 50% of the total demand on the island, one of the highest percentage renewable energy penetration levels of wind on any power system. Meeting our 2020 targets will mean that, at times, the amount of wind energy being generated in Ireland and Northern Ireland will be up to 75% of total demand. This increase of wind on our system has required extensive innovation and planning and further changes will be required to meet the challenges that 75% of wind penetration brings in areas such as system stability, resource flexibility and altered power flows.”
EirGrid is responding to these challenges in a number of ways; though the planning and development of transmission infrastructure, increased interconnection and the development of smart grid technology.