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Official Name:

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Ms. Lucy Corcoran
Ireland, Annex I
+353 1 808 2070

Energy profile

Ireland (2013)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

The East-West Interconnector between Ireland and the UK was inaugurated on 20 September 2012 and doubles the interconnection capacity between the two systems. The project for establishing a second high-capacity connection between Northern Ireland and Ireland is at an advanced planning stage. Alongside these projects, work on the transmission grid in Ireland aims to improve the grid configuration in order to integrate generation from renewable sources; particularly wind parks. All of this greatly helps to improve the security of supply to Ireland, while making the grid flexible and reliable.

Renewable energy potential

SolarResearch carried out by Met Éireann indicates that Ireland normally receives between 1400 and 1700 sunshine hours per year. This research states that, due to its geographical position off the north-west of Europe and close to the Atlantic low-pressure system, tending to keep Ireland in humid cloudy conditions, Irish skies are clouded over more than 50% of the time.Wind EnergyCompared to other lEA countries, wind plays an important role in Ireland's energy mix. Ireland has the fourth-highest share of wind in TPES and in electricity generation, after Denmark, Spain and Portugal. Wind represents 16% of indigenous energy production, the highest share among all lEA member countries.BiomassMost of the solid biomass used in Ireland is for thermal energy purposes only. In electricity generation biomass is used in co-firing with fossil fuels in existing power plants. Only a small amount of biomass is currently used in the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants (1.1% in 2011). In the Government’s 2007 Energy White Paper there is a target to have 30% biomass co-firing with peat in the three stated-owned peat-generation stations by 2015.BiogasBiogas is produced from the anaerobic digestion of animal slurries, wastes in abattoirs, breweries and other agrifood industries. Anaerobic digestion is a cost effective method of producing heat/electricity and reducing harmful wastes. Biogas is used in CHP plants to generate electricity either for own use or for exporting to the grid. There is currently 0.9 MW installed capacity connected to the electricity distribution network with a further 21.5 MW contracted or in the queue for connection. In 2011 approximately 3.3 GWh was generated from biogas or 0.07% of total electricity generated in 2011.HydroThere are 14 large hydroelectric generators connected to the transmission system (maximum export capacity {MEC} of > 4 MW). The total hydro connected to the transmission system is 212 MW. This is 2.8% of the total connected generation capacity. There are a further 58 micro (< 1 MW) hydroelectric generators connected to the distribution system with an installed capacity of 25.5 MW. Further growth in large scale hydro projects is not currently planned. However there are 4 micro generation projects of 1 MW capacity contracted for distribution system connections.WaveIt is estimated that an accessible wave energy resource of 21 TWh per annum exists within the total limit of Irish waters. This equates to just over three quarters (75%) of the total electricity demand in 2011. The Government has a target of 500 MW of installed wave energy capacity by 2020 and an ambition for Ireland to be a world leader in the development of wave energy.

Energy framework

The Republic of Ireland has three energy goals; energy security, cost competitiveness and environmental sustainability. Renewables make only a very small percentage of actual energy consumption compared to other Europe. The main sources of renewable energy are wind, biomass, hydro and liquid biofuels.White PaperThe White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland (2007) sets out a roadmap that will steer Ireland to a new and sustainable energy future. The White Paper includes ambitious and challenging bioenergy targets to 2020, setting a clear path for meeting the Government's goals of ensuring safe and secure, affordable energy. The 2020 targets include: 33% electricity consumption from Renewables (since revised to 40%), 12% renewable heat including 10% from bioenergy, 10% biofuels penetration in transport, 800 MW from Combined Heat and Power (CHP) with an emphasis on Biomass-CHP, and 30% co-firing with biomass at the three State owned peat power generation stations to be achieved progressively by 2015 beginning with immediate development by Bord na Móna of its pilot project at Edenderry Power Station.National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) and National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP)The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) was submitted to the EU Commission in July 2010, and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), first published in May 2009.  The NREAP details a pathway for Ireland to meet the binding commitments of 16% Renewable Energy Share (RES) of national energy consumption and a 10% RES of road and rail transport consumption (RES-T) by 2020. The NEEAP outlines how Ireland will achieve 20% energy efficiency savings, calculated on the basis of the average energy demand from 2001 to 2005.Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012-2020The strategy sets out five strategic goals: increasing on and offshore wind, building a sustainable bioenergy sector, fostering R&D in renewables such as wave & tidal, growing sustainable transport and building out robust and efficient networks. Underpinning the Government’s energy and economic policy objectives are the following five Strategic Goals reflecting the key dimensions of the renewable energy challenge to 2020.Progressively more renewable electricity from onshore and offshore wind power for the domestic and export markets.A sustainable bioenergy sector supporting renewable heat, transport and power generation.Green growth through research and development of renewable technologies including the preparation for market of ocean technologies.Increase sustainable energy use in the transport sector through biofuels and electrification.An intelligent, robust and cost efficient energy networks system.Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT)In May 2010, the Government announced new support price structure for bioenergy i.e. use of natural materials for the production of electricity. The guaranteed support price under the government’s Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT) ranges from 15 cent per kilowatt hour to 8.5 cent per kilowatt hour depending on the technology deployed. The technologies supported include Anaerobic Digestion Combined Heat and Power, Biomass Combined Heat and Power and Biomass Combustion, including provision for 30% co-firing of biomass in the three peat powered stations. REFIT is designed to provide price certainty to renewable electricity generators. It has been in operation for wind and hydro power since 2006. It operates on a sliding scale, acting to ensure a guaranteed price for each unit of electricity exported to the grid by paying the difference between the wholesale price for electricity and the REFIT price. In effect, this means that as electricity prices increase, the amount paid under REFIT falls, mitigating the effect on the consumer.Tax regulation mechanisms (Taxes Consolidation Act 1997)Section 62 of Finance Act 1998 introduced section 486B at the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and provided for a scheme of tax relief for corporate investments in certain renewable energy projects (solar, wind, biomass, and hydro, including ocean, wave or tidal energy). The scheme aims to facilitate the growth of electricity generation capacity using RES. The scheme has been periodically extended and was recently extended until 31 December 2014 (section 486B TCA 1997 amended by section 25 Finance Act 2012). The scheme is open for applications on a continual basis.Training Programmes for InstallersAn installer must complete a training course and obtain the appropriate qualification in order to be registered as an installer of renewable energy plants.Certification ProgrammesPublic bodies can only procure equipment’s and vehicles that satisfy certain energy efficiency criteria or are listed on the Triple E Products Register (Register) maintained by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).Exemplary role of Public AuthoritiesPublic bodies are required to achieve energy savings and purchase efficient products and vehicles.RES-H BuildingNew buildings are required to comply with renewable energy requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations, increasing the use of installations for sanitary hot water.

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