Ireland second highest in Europe for wind energy

Ireland second highest in Europe for wind energy

Almost one-third of Ireland's energy needs now comes from wind, the second highest in Europe, as new figures confirm that 2018 was a record-breaking year for wind energy production.

More than 400 delegates at the spring conference of the Irish Wind Energy Association heard that in 2018 wind energy met a record 29% of our electricity demand – the second highest in Europe and the highest in onshore wind.

The conference was told that:

  • 19 new wind farms were built in 2018;
  • The record for the most wind on the all-Ireland system at any one time was broken three times;
  • In January 2018, for the first time, wind energy provided more electricity than gas over a full month.

At the conference Dr David Connolly, CEO of IWEA, said: “Wind energy is an Irish success story, driving down electricity costs for consumers, cutting millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions and securing a homegrown energy future that doesn’t depend on importing fossil fuels.”

The figures show that last year was a bumper year for the industry and reinforced the importance of building on the years of hard work and innovation that have made Ireland a wind energy leader.

“A strong policy framework, support from EirGrid and ESB Networks, and the efforts of our members have delivered for Ireland,” said Dr Connolly.

Projects developed over the last 20 years have not just been good for the environment, they have been good for consumers and have driven down the wholesale price of electricity.

He called on Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, to set a target of 70% of electricity production from renewable sources by 2030.

“The technology and the resources are there to deliver Ireland’s green energy future with wind energy playing the key role as our country’s main source of renewable electricity,” he said.

“We know that wind, alongside other renewable technologies like solar, batteries and greater interconnection, can provide 70% of our electricity by 2030.

"We would urge Minister Bruton to make Ireland a leader in the fight against climate change by setting this target in the its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).”

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton

A new report, Life-cycle of an Onshore Wind Farm, was also launched at the conference.

Produced by Brendan Heneghan of Ionic Consulting, it sets out how wind farms are developed and operated from the very earliest stages right through to decommissioning.

Dr Connolly said: “This new report takes the reader through the whole journey of a project from identifying a potential site location right through to dismantling or repowering a wind farm.

"Developing and operating a wind farm is a complicated project bring together experts in planning, engineering, construction, ecology and community engagement.

"We hope people reading this will have a clearer understanding of what it takes to successfully develop renewable energy in Ireland.”

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