EirGrid offers connection to wind farm applicants as 2020 targets in sight

IRELAND remains on course to meet its 2020 renewable energy targets, with EirGrid offering all latest wind farm applicants a chance to connect to the national grid.

The operator of Ireland’s national electricity grid has offered connection to the transmission grid to all 94 applications from wind farm developers in its Gate 3 grid connection programme.

The latest round of offers represent more than 5,400 megawatts of electricity to renewable and conventional generators and would be more than Ireland’s peak demand load.

It remains to be seen if all 94 applicants will take up their offer — and the Commission for Energy Regulation is currently deciding on a set timeframe for them to come to a decision. But if they do it could treble the amount of renewable energy powering the national grid.

Ireland has a target of 40% of all electricity consumption coming from renewable sources by 2020.

EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne said: “The amount of renewable energy connected to the grid has increased steadily over the past decade. In 2003, it accounted for just 4.4% of electricity usage, whereas there is enough renewable generation on the system today to supply 15% of customer demand. Ireland is making good progress towards its targets.”

One of the offers for inclusion is the 58MW Sliabh Bawn wind farm in Co Roscommon, operated by Coillte. This was the last of the 94 offers and was made this week.

Coillte managing director Mark Foley said: “This will enable us to make a significant contribution towards achieving our national wind energy targets.”

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