IWEA claims wind energy has saved €70m in energy imports so far in 2016

12 Jul 2016

The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) is claiming that Ireland’s increased wind energy capacity has saved the country €70m in energy imports so far in 2016.

Wind energy remains Ireland’s leading source of renewable energy, with more than 200 wind turbines currently in the country.

Now, the country’s leading proponent of it, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), has said that a windy January and increased wind farm creation has resulted in savings of €70m in energy imports for the State.

Imports way too high

Currently, Ireland’s energy imports of 85pc of our total energy needs is worrying, given our agreement to sign up to the European target of using 16pc renewable energy by 2020, and especially considering Ireland is 35pc above the European average.

This puts us just behind the small European nations of Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.

However, the windy period in January was heralded as a major milestone for the Irish renewables sector, with 60pc of the country’s energy demands met by wind on 28 January, totalling 2,132MW.

Likewise, Ireland’s overall level of wind energy capacity reached a record peak of 2,500MW, which has the potential to create enough electricity to regularly power more than 1.6m homes nationwide.

Showing promise

Ireland’s achievement of using 22pc renewable energy in the first half of 2016 puts us almost on a par with other leading EU member states, such as Spain, where wind energy produced 23.pc of its power in the six-month period.

If we’re to put even further gloss on this, it can be argued that this puts Ireland ahead on a percentage basis of countries such as Germany, where wind and solar contributed some 20pc of its domestic power demand in the first half of 2016.

Commenting on the figures, Brian Dawson, head of communications at IWEA, said: “While it’s exciting to see wind energy delivering such high levels of electricity generation, it’s critically important that we continue to focus on developing these clean and indigenous energy sources and focus on reducing our dangerously unsustainable 85pc reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports.

“Apart from easing our dependency on fossil fuel imports, wind energy is delivering real tangible value to electricity consumers, is promoting significant investment and jobs in our communities, and is helping to protect our environment for future generations.”

Wind turbine at night image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic