Generator Connections - Ireland

EirGrid is the Transmission System Operator for Ireland.  As part of our role, we connect generators to the electricity system at transmission level – these are normally larger generators with a capacity of more than 40 megawatts (MW) of capacity. Generators which are smaller than that in terms of capacity are generally connected to the distribution system, operated by ESB Networks.

We operate the connection process for new generators and interconnectors in line with regulatory decisions. The generators we work with include thermal plants which use fossil fuels, or hydro, CHP plants (Combined Heat & Power), wind generators or other newer types of generation such as solar power or storage devices.

The following is a guide for generation customers to assess whether to connect to the Transmission or Distribution System and whether to apply to EirGrid or ESB Networks.

  • Proposals for over 40 MW total export capacity at a single location should initially apply to EirGrid for a transmission connection. Information on completing and submitting an application is below.
  • Proposals for under 40 MW total export capacity at a single location should initially apply for a distribution connection. For further information please see the ESB Networks website or contact them at +353 1 850 372 757.

Applications are processed through the Connection Offer Process as approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). This process is in place to ensure fairness, provide transparency and facilitate timely delivery of Connection Offers. There have been a number of ‘gates’ (or group processes) over the past decade for processing connection applications. 

The ‘gate’ system was designed for larger renewable and conventional generators. There have been a number of ‘gates’ (or group processes) over the past decade for processing connection applications. The last ‘gate’ was Gate 3, which closed for accepting applications in 2009.

The non-GPA process was established in 2009 to enable smaller renewable and low carbon generators as well as experimental technologies to connect to the system outside of the ‘gate’ process.

The CRU published its Decision on Enduring Connection Policy Stage 1 (ECP-1) on 27 March 2018. ECP-1 is the new process for grid connection, open to all generating and/or storage technologies. The ECP-1 applications window opened on 27 April 2018 and closed on 28 May 2018. We are no longer accepting applications for the 2018 batch of ECP-1. For more information on the ECP-1 2018 batch please click below:

Received Complete Date

EirGrid assigns Received Complete Dates to each new generation application in accordance with the following rules

Application Fee

When submitting a new application to EirGrid as TSO, the application must be accompanied by all supporting documentation as requested, including two signed copies of the EirGrid standard confidentiality agreement and the first installment of €7,000 (inclusive of VAT) of the application fee. The total application fee is dependent on the size of the plant (taking into account the MEC and MIC values) and whether shallow connection works are involved in dealing with the capacity required. The formula for calculating this fee is set out in the Statement of Charges document as approved by the CRU annually. All of these documents are also available on the search facility in the Library section of this website.

Modification Requests

Demand and generation customers may apply to change certain elements of their connection agreements by submitting a formal modification request to EirGrid. The rules regarding modification requests are available here. Modification requests can be submitted to EirGrid by filling out the appropriate form(s) and paying the appropriate fee. 

The appropriate fees are available by consulting the current version of EirGrid’s Statement of Charges available here.

All modification requests should be submitted in soft copy to OPMO@eirgrid.com

Further information around the rules that relate to modification requests and the clarifications that have been approved to the Connection Offer Policy & Process (COPP) can be found on the CRU website here. The ECP-1 decision approved new amendments to COPP which will take precedent. The ECP-1 decision can be found here.

Enduring Connection Policy (ECP-1) Decision – Change in Generation Type (COPP rules)

As per the CRUs decision on ECP-1, the accompanying ruleset details the changes that have been made to the Connection Offer Policy and Process (COPP) paper. In order to effectively implement these changes the System Operators (SOs) have clarified their interpretation of the new rules, in particular how it is envisaged Chapter 9 ‘Change in Generation Type’ will work in practice. This interpretation follows the COPP principle that “where the policies do not directly translate to a case in point, the principles established will be interpreted by the SOs”. In addition, Section 9 of COPP also states that “Changes in generation technology will generally only be processed as per a new application and be subject to the processing rules that pertain to a new application appropriate to the change in generation technology sought.” While this requirement is only specifically stated in the pre energisation section it has been implemented for all changes in generation types. The processing rules that now pertain to all technologies (with only limited exceptions) is that planning permission is a requirement.

For the avoidance of doubt, the SOs shall implement as follows:

For all applications:

  • Any request for change in generation type, regardless of technology type, will be assessed on a case by case basis per the rules in Chapter 9 in COPP as amended by CRU’s ECP-1 Decision. Originally appendix 4 of COPP was intended as a guide for interpreting the rules in Chapter 9. However, given the changes in ECP-1 it is now dated and no longer necessarily relevant. A new guidance document will be processed in the next review of COPP.
  • Consistent with the build-ready principles espoused in the CRU ECP decision; any change in generation type shall be subject to the same planning permission requirements as set out in CRU/18/058 and CRU/18/059.

For applications prior to energisation:

  • As directed, these rules will apply to all projects with an in-process, live or contracted offer until 29 June 2018. Following this date, a change in generation type will only be applicable for contracted projects, except for applications processed under ECP-1. All applications will be processed in conjunction with the clarifications for all applications above.
  • The rules set out in section 9.2.2 of COPP still apply with the following clarification: “Where there is a change from being renewable to non‐renewable or vice versa the party has gained no material advantage over other similar applications based on the original application” – Given that the ECP-1 2018 batch is technology neutral the SOs are satisfied that this clause no longer applies.

For applications post energisation:

  • As directed, these rules will apply to all post energisation projects in conjunction with the clarifications for all applications above. 
  • The rules set out in section 9.3.2 of COPP still apply with the following clarification: “The SO would be given 2 years notice as to when a transfer of rights is scheduled by a customer to take place.” – All applications made post energisation must be in accordance with the relevant rules set out in the Generation Plant Closure Process. This shall apply even if only part of the MEC is being transferred to another technology type. One aspect of this ruleset is the period of notification that must be given in advance of plant closure i.e. as per Grid Code requirements, generators greater than 50MW – at least three years notice, generators less than 50MW – at least two years notice.

For further amendments to COPP, please see the CRU Ruleset, CRU/18/059.

Enduring Connection Policy (ECP-1) Decision - Capacity Relocation

In line with the CRU Decision Paper – Enduring Connection Policy Stage 1 (ECP-1) CRU/18/058 existing contracted generation customers are eligible to submit a request to EirGrid to relocate capacity to a site with planning permission. As per CRU/18/058, the deadline for applications for capacity relocation is set at close of business 29 June 2018. Any other capacity relocation shall only be permitted in accordance with CRU/18/058 which limits relocations to 100m of the original site boundary. Modification requests can be submitted to EirGrid by filling out the appropriate form(s) and paying the appropriate fee. 

The appropriate fees are available by consulting the current version of EirGrid’s Statement of Charges available here.

All modification requests should be submitted in soft copy to OPMO@eirgrid.com

Connection Policy Transitional Arrangements - Capacity Release

In line with the CRU Decision Paper - Connection Policy Transitional Arrangements CER/16/284 and the further Decision Paper - Connection Policy Transitional Arrangements Partial Capacity Release CER/17/090, generation customers had the opportunity to apply to EirGrid to terminate all or part of an eligible customer’s Transmission Connection Agreement. As per CER/17/090, the deadline for applications was the 30 June 2017 and is now closed.

The list of transmission generation projects releasing capacity is in the below link:

TSO Capacity Release Applications

The list of distribution generation projects releasing capacity is available on the ESB Networks website here.

The rules on refunds and charges are set out in Section 3.4.2 of CER/16/284 and Section 2.2 of CER/17/090.

Connection works, Commissioning and Contestability

Details regarding connecting, connection works, commissioning and key dates will be outlined in the Connection Agreement. Under current policy, transmission connected generators and demand customers are entitled to procure large elements of their connection works themselves. An EirGrid paper on Contestability, which has been approved by the CRU, was published in October 2007. Find this in our Library.

Further Information

For further information or any queries you have please see the contact section of our website and contact our Customer Relations team.

Find all the supporting documentation you need here.

Wind Dynamic Modelling

EirGrid requires dynamic models for all generators connected to, or applying for a connection to the transmission system. This is in order to assess the impact of the generator on the stability of the power system.

All transmission and distribution wind farms greater than 5 MW, with signed connection agreements, are required to provide a dynamic model, to EirGrid, no later than 240 business days (1 year) prior to their scheduled date of connection to the power system.

EirGrid maintains a Dynamic Model Register that lists the current wind turbine generator dynamic models which have been provided with respect to the Planning Code Appendix of the Grid Code (PCA4.10.1) and its subsections. All dynamic models must meet with the requirements as set out in section PCA4.10.1.2 of the Planning Code and be compliant with PSS/E versions 32, 33 and 34.

The latest version of the Dynamic Model Register can be downloaded here.

Advanced Works Packages

Demand and generation customers may apply to request an Advanced Works Package to progress specific works for their project in advance of a modified connection agreement being executed. 

The application form and guidelines for applying for an Advanced Works Package are available here.

Applications can be submitted to EirGrid by filling out the appropriate form(s) and paying the appropriate fee. 

The application fee for an Advanced Works Package is a Level 1 fee. Please consult the current version of EirGrid’s Statement of Charges available here.

All application requests should be submitted in soft copy to OPMO@eirgrid.com.

Clearance Distances

EirGrid requires that the individual clearance policies in respect of wind turbines and solar panels are adhered to when planning and constructing projects. For further information on each policy please see the below documents:

Offshore Wind Substation and Cable Functional Specification Revisions

Click here for more information on our consultation on revisions to Functional Specifications for Offshore Substations and Offshore Submarine cables.