Consumers’ pockets to benefit from cheaper wind energy

2 Mar 2011

Wind energy generation will deliver savings of €100m to Irish consumers by 2020, a new analysis compiled by international strategic and analytical consultancy Redpoint Energy Limited has revealed.

The report showed that an 11.5pc reduction in wholesale electricity prices will be achieved through delivering 45pc of the overall generation mix from wind by 2020.

The publication of the report today coincides with the launch of a Windskillnet training course on the outcomes of the analysis.

The analysis, titled The Impact of Wind on Pricing Within the Single Electricity Market, focused on the impact that wind generation has on two components of consumer bills, wholesale electricity prices and renewables support.

The study revealed that wind generation is already having a significant impact on energy costs, with the total savings to consumers set to reach €36.6m in 2011. Wind energy now accounts for about 12pc of Ireland’s electricity needs.

Phil Grant, director of Redpoint Energy, said, “Our analysis shows that increased levels of wind generation will displace coal and gas-fired generation, and reduce the costs of electricity production.”

The report was commissioned by IWEA (Irish Wind Energy Association) in conjunction with Wind Skillnet.

Commenting on the report, CEO of the IWEA, Michael Walsh, said, “We have separately quantified the costs to the consumer of developing new transmission lines to connect wind generation. Comparing the costs expected in the Grid 25 development plan with a business-as-usual scenario we find that customers will save almost €100m per year. This is because the saving in wholesale process of €256m greatly outweighs the costs of PSO support of €52m and the annual costs of new network of €108m in 2020.”

Walsh stated that meeting renewable energy targets will result in lower prices, lower emissions, greater fuel security and the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs. He urged the Government to introduce a co-ordinated energy and enterprise implementation plan to ensure Ireland captures its share of these new European industries.

“The report reaffirms the current strategy for 40pc of all electricity to be produced from renewable energy by 2020, with the majority of that coming from wind. Given the current unrest in Libya and other oil-rich nations across the Middle East, the report is a timely reminder of not alone the need but the value in developing our excellent natural energy resource. It shows that wind will save consumers money in the event that oil prices remain stable but will, crucially, save them even more if oil prices were to increase. Therefore, it enables the consumer to hedge against inevitable rises in oil prices,” he concluded.