Bad weather in 2015 ranks Ireland 3rd in wind energy usage

13 Jan 2016

With all the news of Ireland’s bombardment with wind and rain in 2015, it’s perhaps not surprising that it was enough to see us rise to third in the world rankings of countries that used wind energy to generate electricity.

Wind energy in Ireland has always been seen as our greatest hope in trying to achieve our target of 16pc of Ireland’s energy being generated by renewables by 2020 given, well, our abundance of wind.

And now, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), which has gotten its hands on preliminary figures from a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Ireland will soon move up one place in the world wind energy usage rankings to third spot, overtaking Spain.

According to these figures, 24pc of Ireland’s entire electricity usage was met by indigenous wind energy, with the rough weather in December seeing a record 39pc of Ireland’s demands being met by wind energy for that month.

In 2014, Ireland was ranked in fourth place behind Spain’s 20.4pc at just 18.3pc, but still quite far behind Denmark’s 39.1pc.

‘Wind energy is working for us’

At its peak on 19 December last year, 2,037MW was generated, providing enough energy to power roughly 1.3m homes nationwide.

The IWEA, always looking on the bright side of bad weather, said it contributed to a 9.4pc decrease in the price of wholesale electricity in 2015 compared to the previous year.

Speaking of these early findings – with the report scheduled for release sometime in the coming weeks – the CEO of the IWEA, Kenneth Matthews, said: “Irish wind and renewable energy gives us the power to power ourselves and the opportunity to cut our 85pc foreign energy import dependency, which costs us €15.6m every single day.

“Wind energy is working for us, and playing an ever more important role in meeting our heavy electricity demand while helping to drive down prices, cutting harmful emissions and reducing the country’s reliance on more expensive sources of energy.”

Wind turbine image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic