Wind generated electricity can only be admitted to the grid system as a minority energy source, to preserve stability. The amount ranges between 22% and 52%, depending on winds speed and consistency. For at least half of the time there is no electricity from wind. And when the wind is blowing strongly, surplus wind energy must be constrained down, by turning off some turbines. As the level of wind in the system increases, the amount constrained increases. Both real and constrained wind energy is paid for from consumer bills.
Wind energy must also be backed up by fossil fuel plant. When the wind blows, this plant is disconnected but some is kept running idle. This fossil fuel plant must also be paid constrained payments for lost sales. Moreover, both wind and fossil plant is paid capacity payments (to produce nothing) which amounts to about €27 million per year for wind alone.
Eirgrid’s 2010 report outlines plans to double our present capacity for renweables. On top of this is the cost of the additional pylons required. The cost can only be covered by four different approaches. 1) levy the whole cost on consumer bills, effectively doubling them. 2) levy the capital cost on taxation and the running cost on bills 3) levy the entire cost on taxation 4) borrow it all.
It is a complete myth that international interconnection improves matters. North and Western Europe has the highest electricity prices in the world due its massive investment in renewables. Why the ESRI believes we would benefit by connecting to such an expensive system escapes me. Obviously Europe hope we will help pay for their renewable folly.