Final Chance for People to Shape Their Electricity Future

EirGrid, operator of the national electricity grid, is closing its 14-week consultation on Shaping Our Electricity Future, a new initiative that details innovative approaches to developing the electricity grid in order to meet ambitious 2030 renewable energy targets.

The company, along with Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD, launched the initiative in March and has been seeking feedback as part of a nationwide public consultation that closes on Monday 14 June.

Over the past three months, EirGrid has held workshops, meetings and fora across the country to inform people and gather feedback in one of the largest public consultations of its type to have taken place in the state. The feedback will directly influence the final roadmap for developing the national electricity grid.

Hundreds of people from across the country have participated in the events

In May over 100 people participated in a Civil Society Forum chaired by Marie Donnelly, Chair of Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council. The forum brought together representatives from a wide range of sectors, including academia, local government, agriculture, energy and the environment.

This was followed by a three-day ‘Deliberative Dialogue’ with 99 people from around the country. Modelled on Ireland’s Citizens Assembly, EirGrid’s ‘Deliberative Dialogue’ was moderated by Tom Arnold, who chaired the original Constitutional Convention from 2012 to 2014.

EirGrid hosted a number of rural workshops in partnership with Irish Rural Link; partnered with the National Youth Assembly, which delivered a series of workshops; briefed over 20 county councils; hosted an energy industry forum; and held workshops with Chambers Ireland throughout the country. The engagement has been supported by leading researchers at MaREI, the centre for energy, climate and marine research and innovation, and the National Adult Literacy Agency.

Mark Foley, chief executive of EirGrid, 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 have been hosting a nationwide consultation to find an agreed approach to reach the 2030 targets. We want to collaborate with the public and all stakeholders.”

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 in demand for electricity over the coming years.

To date there has been approximately 200 public submissions and a number of themes are emerging. They are

  • The role of micro-generation and the possibility of domestic customers generating their own electricity and exporting the surplus on to the ESB Networks system
  • New and emerging technologies and their future role. These include hydro, nuclear, hydrogen, biomass and batteries
  • The recent growth in the data centre sector and its impact on energy consumption
  • Power security and the reliability of a grid based on wind and solar energy
  • The cost of achieving the 2030 renewable targets
  • The merits of putting electricity infrastructure underground
  • Possible community benefit initiatives
  • Concerns regarding the impact of local grid infrastructure projects

The results of the consultation will be reviewed and incorporated into the final Shaping Our Electricity Future strategy. It is anticipated that this will be published by the end of the year, setting out the final roadmap to achieving our renewable electricity goals.

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

Ends

Contact David Martin on 085 6030969 for further information