Ireland will need significant investment and development of its electricity grid if it is to meet the social policy and economic goals of the country, according to EirGrid's latest Tomorrow's Energy Scenarios report, launched at our annual conference today in Cork.
The report, which is the third and final phase of a series of reports examining Ireland’s future energy needs, identifies four possible scenarios for electricity growth over the coming 22 years to 2040. It is used by EirGrid to help efficiently plan and develop the electricity grid.
The scenarios project everything from a slow change in electricity generation due to poor economic growth, right up to a scenario where a strong growing economy leads to high levels of consumer spending ability and a public desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the last 24 months, EirGrid has undertaken extensive consultation with a broad range of stakeholders to develop this range of four credible and evidence-based energy scenarios for the future. While only two of the scenarios would see a radical change to the electricity sector, all four scenarios require further investment in the grid.
The report, “Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios – System Needs Assessment”, identifies the needs for the grid brought about by changes in electricity generation, including renewable energy; interconnection with other countries; and the demand of large energy users, such as data centres.
EirGrid has identified six areas of the country that require investment. These areas are; the Border region, the West and Border region, the Midland, Border and West regions, the Dublin and Mid-East regions, the South-West and South-East regions and the South-East and Mid-East regions.
While some of the needs identified in each region can be addressed by a series of upgrade projects using the existing grid, others will require new grid investments.
Speaking about the report at EirGrid’s Annual Conference at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, EirGrid Chief Executive Officer Mark Foley said: “At EirGrid we work to ensure that the energy sector of Ireland is fit for purpose today and into the future. As the Transmission System Operator, we have to make the best possible use of electricity customers’ money and ensure that all investments in the system are truly necessary. By simulating future conditions, this strategy assists us to meet projected demand levels, to meet Government policy objectives, and to ensure a long-term sustainable and competitive energy future for Ireland”.
The Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios System Needs Assessment completes the current scenario planning cycle. The next cycle will begin again in spring 2019 with a revision of current scenarios and their portfolios, including locations.
Read a summary booklet of the report here.