Wind energy cut Ireland’s gas costs by €2bn last year, report claims

16 Jan 2023

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The report said wind generated more than 13GWH in electricity last year, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of nearly 3m Irish families.

Wind turbines generated more than one third of Ireland’s electricity needs last year, according to a new report by Wind Energy Ireland.

The organisation said Ireland’s wind energy production went up four points last year, accounting for 34pc of our energy needs.

Wind generated 13.213 gigawatt-hours (GWH) in electricity last year, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of nearly 3m Irish families. This is up from the 11.566GWH generated by wind in 2021 but slightly behind the record level of 13.696GWH set in 2020.

Wind Energy Ireland said Ireland’s wind energy saved the country billions of euro in gas imports. The analysis conducted by Baringa claims Ireland would have had to spend €1.65bn in gas generation and €340m in carbon credits without this wind energy contribution.

The report also found that wind energy in Northern Ireland helped to generate savings of up to £500m.

“Every day Irish wind farms are protecting consumers while also cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate emergency,” said Wind Energy Ireland CEO Noel Cunniffe.

“The best way out of this energy crisis is to accelerate the development of renewable energy, to ensure more of our power is provided here, at home, creating Irish jobs and supporting local communities.”

Cunniffe said more wind farms can’t be built without a planning system that is “fit for purpose” and a much stronger electricity grid. He believes these issues must be “top priorities for all political parties” this year.

“The Government’s plan to reform the planning system by putting in place mandatory timelines for decisions needs to be fully supported and we need total political backing, right across the Oireachtas, for EirGrid’s strategy to reinforce the country’s electricity grid,” Cunniffe said.

“We can build an Ireland that is energy independent, delivering warmer homes, cleaner air and tens of thousands of new jobs, a leader in tackling the climate emergency and in supporting local communities.”

Last December, the Government issued Maritime Area Consents to the first phase of seven major offshore renewable energy projects. The announcement followed the publication of the Climate Action Plan 2023, which includes updated targets for renewable energy.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic