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Electricity supply shortfalls over next five winters warns Eirgrid

In a recent key report by the national grid, stark warnings of electricity shortfalls over the next five winters unless we take action NOW.

Disruption to gas supplies and lowest recorded wind speeds this decade have raised concerns for the supply of electricity.

Temporary generators and older plants will remain open as a response by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to boost supplies.

Eirgrid have said that the system will be tight even though they plan to open two gas fired stations which are currently closed for maintenance.

Findings of the report by Eirgrid suggest that the demand for electricity in Ireland keeps growing, primarily driven by data centres. The CRU noted the issue of data centres will require a “specific response”.

The CRU has warned that customers face higher charges for their electricity in the coming years due to record demand and reduced supply, this is unwelcomed news and additional expense to the homeowner who is already stretched.

Commissioner Jim Gannon said that the two major gas plants that had prolonged outages that may have put supply at risk this winter are scheduled to come back in November and December.

He said “although things will remain tight and we may have some amber alerts, it will be challenging but manageable” this winter.

The Commission has put a programme in place to address the shortfall in the coming years including bringing in temporary generation, retaining access to older generation for longer and reducing needs at time of scarcity as well as other contingency measures .

Mr Gannon noted that the measures will mostly be delivered through competitive markets “to make sure that we get the best price for consumers”.

He did however say “it is anticipated that, yes, they will have to pay more”.

He emphasized that these are temporary measures and a new plant which partners with wind energy will be put in place to help Ireland reach its emissions targets.

Ibec called on the Government to address energy supply challenges by investing in new capacity instead of restricting economic growth.

“The energy constraint we face today is a major concern for businesses big and small across the country,” CEO Danny McCoy said.

“If left unresolved, it will greatly undermine our national competitiveness, the climate agenda, and our attractiveness to inward investment.”

“The need to keep higher carbon, costlier plant operational longer than planned, represents a policy and planning oversight that must be resolved with haste.

He added that targeted restrictions on sectors or blanket bans on any type of development, including data centres, must be avoided.

“The National Development Plan review and updated Climate Action Plan must support investment in critical natural gas infrastructure and new renewable generation to support the transition,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, Wind Energy Ireland said the rollout of renewable energy infrastructure needs to be speeded up.

“We cannot ignore the growing urgency of the challenge we face,” said Noel Cunniffe, CEO of the organsiation.

“We need to speed up the development of renewable energy to avoid any scenario where we are looking at increased carbon emissions.”

“This means that the onshore renewable energy auction, which was postponed to next year, must be brought forward.”

For the homeowner solar PV is the perfect solution to protect yourself from these price increases.

Did you know that you can reduce your bills by 50% and the payback period is just 8 years. With the rises that are predicted by the CRU and the micro generation support scheme due to commence this year, we expect this payback period to be reduced even further.