New energy record – wind powers 800,000 Irish homes

17 Jan 2011

Ireland has reached a new record in electricity coming from wind power, with wind energy output of 1,250MW powering more than 800,000 homes, Communications and Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD told the World Future Energy Summit.

Ireland’s Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD was one of a number of invited international guests at today’s opening of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Also speaking were UN Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland and the Prime Ministers of Portugal, Bangladesh and Georgia.

Ryan spoke on The Principal Energy Challenges Facing National Governments.

“As I was leaving Ireland yesterday, we reached a new record in electricity coming from our wind”, he said. “Wind energy output was 1,250 MW, powering over 800,000 homes.”

“In just over three years, we have doubled the amount of renewable energy in Ireland, while at the same time reducing electricity prices. We have insulated over 110,000 homes and will soon be launching a plan to reach 1m Irish homes over the next decade. Five international companies have signed agreements with the Irish Government to provide electric vehicles to our market and the ESB is building the charging infrastructure.

Irish companies’ expertise in green technology

Irish companies are developing real expertise in the green technology area and the rest of the world wants to hear the story – the Irish success story of the recent past.

“We have been learning by doing. Just five years ago, our transmission operator would have said we could not technically reach 35pc renewables penetration on our national grid. But it has. When you get to a really high level of renewable penetration, it can be technically challenging but manageable.

“For Ireland, our fuel mix will be combination of wind, gas and interconnection in the medium term. Gas is our saline drip as we move towards 100pc renewables.

“The EU now understands our energy interdependence. I would say that in the last three years, the Council of Ministers in the EU has undergone a change of thinking.

“It was ironic, given that the EU was initially founded with a coal and steel sharing pact that it has taken until now for the EU to understand that in energy, we need an integrated market. We have begun the planning for grid connections between countries which will help our transmission operator when we go over 50pc renewables.

“In Ireland, the measures that have worked best have been taxation, where we tied car tax to emissions levels, social status measures, such as our building energy regulations and new technology measures, such as smart meters,” Ryan said.

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