EirGrid has welcomed the news that 44% of Northern Ireland electricity consumption was generated by renewable sources in the 12 months to June 2019.
The figure easily beats Northern Ireland’s renewable target of 40% and occurred one year ahead of its 2020 deadline. In 2005 renewable energy accounted for just 3% of demand.
EirGrid’s sister company System Operator Northern Ireland (SONI) runs the electricity grid in Northern Ireland and is responsible for integrating renewable energy on the power system.
Mark Foley, EirGrid Group Chief Executive, said: “The electricity system in Northern Ireland is undergoing a transformation as a result of the growing levels of renewable electricity. Managing this is an incredible achievement and testament to the talented people we have working at SONI.”
Running the Northern Irish power system with increasingly high levels of renewable energy is a major challenge due to the intermittent nature of wind power and its technical characteristics.
SONI is doing so through a ground-breaking joint-programme of work called DS3, in association with its colleagues at EirGrid in Dublin.
“This work is enabling us to run the power system with up to 65% renewable energy at any given time. This has enabled us to reach the 44% average for the 12 months to June. We are not stopping there either: Our ambition is to take that average figure significantly higher in the coming years,” explained Mr Foley.
According to the statistics published by the Department for the Economy, wind energy accounted for 85% of the renewable energy during the period. The remainder was largely solar power, biomass and biogas. The 44% figure is 7% higher than the previous year and is the highest 12-month proportion on record.
In Ireland, EirGrid is running the power system with an average of one third of electricity demand being met by renewable generation.