EirGrid & Minister Ryan Launch Nationwide Consultation on Ireland’s Future Electricity System

08 March 2021

EirGrid and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD have today launched a nationwide consultation on the future of Ireland’s electricity system.

EirGrid, operator of the national electricity grid, is seeking feedback on Shaping Our Electricity Future; a new report that details innovative approaches to developing the grid in order to meet ambitious 2030 renewable energy targets.

EirGrid and Minister Ryan are asking everyone interested in Ireland’s energy future to consider these approaches, provide feedback and be part of this decade of change.

Minister Ryan said: “Climate change is one of the starkest challenges we face and Ireland is currently lagging far behind on our emissions targets. In the coming decades we will be electrifying large parts of our economy, including our heating and transport systems, so building a grid that can handle a high level of renewables will be critical to our success. Shaping Our Electricity Future will go a long way towards Ireland’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and I look forward to seeing the outcome of the public consultation.”

EirGrid has been asked by the Government to transform the electricity system in anticipation of a future without coal, oil, peat and ultimately one with net zero emissions. Specifically, it must redevelop the grid to manage 70% of Ireland’s electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030.

Shaping Our Electricity Future comprises four approaches to achieving this, as well as meeting the projected increase demand for electricity over the coming years.

  1. Generation-Led: Government policy would influence where renewable energy is generated – favouring locations where the grid is already strong
  2. Developer-Led: In this approach, we continue to connect new sources of renewable electricity as requested in any location
  3. Technology-Led: This approach uses technical solutions to make the grid more resilient so it can better handle the variable nature of renewable energy
  4. Demand-Led: Government policy determines where large energy users locate in Ireland

Each of the four approaches requires numerous investments in network development projects throughout the country, with costs ranging from €500 million to €2 billion. There are some foundation projects that are common to all four approaches and the final plan is likely to include elements of all approaches, strongly led by one of them.

Over the next fourteen weeks, EirGrid will hold a series of workshops, meetings and fora across the country, online and, if possible, in person to inform people and gather feedback that will directly influence the final roadmap. The consultation material has been prepared with the support of the National Adult Literacy Agency to ensure the language is accessible to non-technical audiences.

In addition to this, EirGrid has launched a new consultation portal at consult.eirgrid.ie that will host the consultation material and act as an accessible platform for people to submit their views.

The consultation period will be supported by a range of traditional and innovative engagement and participation activities which include a Deliberative Dialogue (modelled on Ireland’s Citizens Assembly), complemented by national fora involving industry, civil society and youth. In addition to this, EirGrid will engage at grassroots level with rural communities, local businesses and young people.

Mark Foley, EirGrid Group Chief Executive, said: “The grid requires unprecedented change in the next ten years. This transition to clean electricity will affect everyone in Ireland and will unquestionably be difficult, however the benefits will be truly transformative at both a societal and an economic level. Because of this, we are hosting a nationwide consultation to find an agreed approach to reach the 2030 targets. We want to collaborate with the public and all stakeholders.”

People can find out more about the public consultation and how to have their say in Shaping Ireland’s Electricity Future by visiting consult.eirgrid.ie

Links to related documents:

For more information please contact the EirGrid Press Office on 085 603 0969