EirGrid completes grid connection offers

17 Jun 2011

EirGrid has completed its work in offering transmission grid connections to wind farms and says the programme could result in a threefold increase in the amount of renewable energy on Ireland’s electricity network.

EirGrid, which has been working with the Commission for Energy Regulation and ESB Networks on the Gate 3 grid connection offer programme, issued its final offer to connect to the transmission grid to Coillte yesterday for a 58MW wind farm in Sliabh Bawn, Co Roscommon.

In all, EirGrid has issued 94 offers under the programme.

It says these combined offers represent a total of more than 5,400MW of electricity to renewable and conventional generators, which would be more than Ireland’s peak demand load.

At more than 4,000MW, renewable energy generators make up nearly three-quarters of all offers under the programme.

Right now, about 1,500 MW of renewable energy is connected to the system.

According to EirGrid, the programme’s completion represents a significant step towards meeting Ireland’s renewable energy targets, with the Government having set the goal of having 40pc of all electricity consumption derived from renewable sources by 2020, the highest such target in Europe.

Speaking today, EirGrid’s chief executive Dermot Byrne said Ireland is making good progress.

“The amount of renewable energy connected to the grid has increased steadily over the past decade. In 2003, it accounted for just 4.4pc of electricity usage whereas there is enough renewable generation on the system today to supply 15pc of customer demand.”

Coillte Enterprise managing director Mark Foley said that the offer of the final grid connection under the programme to Coillte brings the total capacity of grid connection offered to it under the Gate 3 programme to 400MW. 

“This will enable Coillte to make a significant contribution towards achieving our national wind energy targets,” he said.

Photo: Dermot Byrne, EirGrid chief executive; Mark Foley managing director of Coillte Enterprise; and David Gunning, chief executive of Coillte, pictured concluding the final Gate 3 offer to Coillte

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic