Ireland will export more renewable energy than it can use

12 Apr 2011

After achieving record output levels of wind energy of 1,323 megawatts, the Irish Wind Energy Association believes Ireland will soon be exporting as much renewable energy as we use by 2020.

The growing importance of wind as a key energy resource for Ireland was reaffirmed last week as a record power output level of 1,323 megawatts –  enough to power more than 850,000 homes – was recorded, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has revealed.

According to figures available from EirGrid, the new record was achieved on Monday, 4 April, at 9.45am. Two and three-quarters hours earlier, the amount of electricity being generated from wind was just under 50pc of national electricity demand at that time.

EirGrid monitors and matches electricity generation and usage nationally 24/7 at its headquarters in Dublin.

Record breaking results

Commenting on the news, IWEA’s chief executive Michael Walsh, said: “This record confirms the impact that wind energy can have. We have seen records broken on a number of occasions recently and as we continue to grow this sector in 2011, we are developing knowledge and skills that the rest of the world will need in the coming decade.

“Ireland is leading the way and showing that high wind levels are achievable, which brings with it opportunities to advance Ireland’s strategy for economic renewal.”

Ireland currently has 1,425MW of installed wind energy across the Republic, with more than 1100MW contracted and 3900MW receiving grid connections in the next phase of Grid Connections, Gate 3. Outside of this, there are more than 11GW of wind energy projects awaiting Grid connection, which signals a major increase in the energy that will be available in future from this natural resource.

Walsh said such are the renewable energy opportunities ahead for Ireland that we could be exporting as much renewable energy as we use by 2020.

“In the simplest terms, such are the opportunities ahead for us that we can export as much renewable energy as we use by 2020. If generation capacity is met, we could export up to 5,000 MW of renewable energy generation in 10 years, which will be more or less what we will require ourselves. These resources could generate an annual export value of over €2bn for Ireland.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years