EirGrid Publishes Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2019

29 October 2019

EirGrid has published Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2019, its latest analysis of Ireland’s electricity sector covering the next 20 years.

The scenarios outline a range of pathways for Ireland’s energy transition, with specific focus on the electricity system.

This final report incorporates feedback from the public and interested groups following a consultation on a draft version of the report that ran from June 28th to August 9th.

This final version contains additional information such as future electricity production and consumption patterns, installed capacities for storage technologies and operational rules on how generators are run.

Further to these additions, a number of changes have been made to scenario storylines and the scenario portfolios since the consultation closed in August.

The report identifies three possible scenarios: A plan-led world in which Ireland achieves a low carbon future; a world in which the pace of change is not sufficient to meet climate objectives; and one where citizens recognise climate change as a risk and take appropriate action.

It forecasts a significant increase in demand for electricity and in weather-dependent renewable energy sources across all three scenarios.

The scenarios share a close relationship with System Operator for Northern Ireland’s (SONI) Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios. The combined scenarios are used to create all-island power system models suitable for the long-term planning of the power system.

EirGrid will use the final scenarios to conduct a technical assessment of power system performance. This will be achieved by performing a number of different studies for each scenario out to 2040. These studies will help us identify any future needs on the transmission system brought about by changes in electricity generation, electricity demand, electricity storage or interconnection.

The results will be presented in the Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2019 System Needs Assessment report which will be published this winter.

For more information see our Energy Future webpage.

Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2019 Scenarios:

Centralised Energy

Centralised Energy is a plan-led world in which Ireland achieves a low carbon future. There is a step change in the uptake of electrified transport and heating.

Electrification of the existing housing stock occurs in tandem with improved thermally efficiency due to deep retrofitting. Although uptake is significant, there is only a modest level of grid flexibility offered from consumer technologies.

Renewable electricity is mainly generated by large scale sources. The diversity of the renewables mix increases due to reducing technology costs and auction designs.

Carbon capture and storage is developed to decarbonise fossil fuel generation.

Delayed Transition

Delayed Transition is a world in which decarbonisation progress is made, but the pace is not sufficient to meet climate objectives.

Policy measures fail to break down barriers to a systematic clean energy transition.

Consumer behavioural change is modest, with a gap remaining between climate change awareness and action. This means that the shift to electrified transport and, in particular, heating occurs later.

Deployment rates of renewable and low-carbon technologies are slower than required. This diminishes the benefits of sector coupling. Data centre growth, albeit sizeable, is lower than the median forecast in the Generation Capacity Statement.

Coordinated Action

Coordinated Action is a world where sustainability and economic circularity are core to future decisions. Citizens recognise climate change as a risk and take appropriate action.

Policy measures are targeted at and embraced by energy consumers and communities, leading to a more decentralised electricity system. Centralised decarbonisation solutions still play an important role in moving toward energy and climate targets.

Consumer adoption, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence help realise a change in consumption patterns and help manage the daily peak in electricity demand.

There is significant growth in generation connected to the low voltage electricity network. This micro generation is accompanied by battery storage, yielding high levels of self-consumption.