Ireland breaks record for wind-generated electricity

11 Jan 2017

Image: Tony Craddock/Shutterstock

The record for wind electricty generated in Ireland now stands at 2,815MW, thanks to a blustery morning on 11 January.

Ireland’s now usurped wind electricity record lasted almost a full year, but the 2,683MW recorded on 28 January 2016  was well beaten this morning, as the island benefited from particularly gusty conditions, adding 132MW to that tally.

It meant that the majority (60pc) of energy usage throughout the night of 10 January, and into the morning, came from wind. Better still, excess wind electricity was exported to Great Britain via interconnector links to Scotland and Wales.

“Last night and into this morning, we saw record levels of wind generation providing electricity across Ireland, and managing this presented significant technical challenges for us,” said Robin McCormick, director of operations, planning and innovation at EirGrid.

Claiming that the scale of electricity management on an island like Ireland surpasses any similar attempts worldwide, McCormick claims that increased technical expertise is making the whole process better.

“We’ve been working hard towards making this happen; analysing data and using all of our expertise to harness ever-increasing amounts of wind,” he said.

“We will continue to optimise the electricity system in the hope that we can continue this trend, which is ultimately about reducing the cost of electricity for the consumer.”

This time last year, Irish stakeholders in the wind-energy sector were pretty pleased with themselves, as stormy weather meant Ireland was third in the world when it came to utilising such electricity.

Wind energy in Ireland has always been seen as our greatest hope in trying to achieve our target of 16pc of the country’s energy being generated by renewables by 2020. As yet, wave technology has yet to develop into sufficient energy hauls, while solar is clearly not as beneficial here than, say, the US.

In Northern Ireland, 40pc of electricity use is hoped to be achieved through renewables by the end of the decade.

Jenny Pyper, CEO of Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator, recently told how incentive schemes in the country had proved “a great success” in recent years.

At this stage, the number of wind farms is no longer a concern, with the investment into the grid – in order to manage the influx of renewable energy – now the priority.

“Self-generating renewable energy is a great proposition, but most people want to sell their excess energy back to the grid. That means they require an uplink,” she explained.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic