The Irish Energy Market of Renewables is here described into the third and last country report from Greensolver. The Irish renewable energy landscape is one of the hot topics, especially thanks to the high commitment in developing Wind Energy to meet the Climate Action Plan for the country. Read through the one pager and discover the highlights of the Irish energy market!
Climate and Geography
The island of Ireland has an oceanic climate, described as cool and damp, cloudy and rainy throughout the year. Ireland consists of mostly flat low-lying area in the midlands, surrounded by a ring of coastal mountains. The highest peak is Carrauntuohill, which is 1041m (3414 ft).
In the map below, we can see the Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI), with the daily and annual long-term averages of Global Horizontal Irradiation (kWh/m2). The Global Photovoltaic Power Potenial map instead, represents the daily and annual long-term averages of Global Tilted Irradiation 9KWh/kWp) available for selected or optimum tilt and azimuth. These two maps correlate as the regions with the highest horizontal irradiation are more likely to generate higher photovoltaic power potential.
|GHI (yearly average)
|PV power potential
|803 – 976 kWh/kWp
The table describes the GHI and PV power potential in North, Central and South of Ireland, referring to the maps pictured above. We can state that the southern parts show a higher potential for PV with some smaller differences between the East and West coastline.
The prevailing wind direction is between south and west. Average annual wind speeds range from 3m/s in parts of south Leinster to over 8 m/s in the extreme north, with maximum gust speeds reaching 50m/s. During the course of a typical day, the range of mean hourly wind speed is considerable, with a diurnal variation much more pronounced in summer than in winter. This is a result of surface heating, which involves mixing of the faster-moving air at higher levels with the air near the surface. As the effect of surface heating diminishes, the wind speed decreases.
The Energy Mix
In 2019, gas was the main source of fuel, amounting to 50,7% of Ireland´s total energy mix. The next greatest sector in the Irish Energy Market was renewables amounting to 35,7%: 32% is wind energy. The greatest increase in Wind Energy benefits from two previous support mechanisms called the Alternative energy requirements auction in the 90s and the REFiT from 2006 till 2015.
The Climate Action Plan 2019 Target to which Ireland adhered, plans to generate 70% of electricity from renewables, needing up to 30TWh of renewable to fulfill this goal by the end to 2030. Competitive auctions could deliver up to 8.2 GW increase in onshore wind, at least 3.5 GW offshore wind and 1.5 GW of solar.
The national targets for 2020 are listed below:
- Contribution of the energy produced by RES to the gross final energy consumption: 20%
- Contribution of the electrical energy produced by RES to the gross electrical energy consumption: at least 40%
- Contribution of the energy produced by RES to the final energy consumption for heating and cooling: at least 20%
- Contribution of the electrical energy produced
by RES to the gross electrical energy consumption in transportation: at least 10%.
The National plan for 2020 governing the Irish Renewable Energy Market also implies an intensification of the grid line. At the moment, Ireland has a maximum System Non-Synchronous Penetration (SNSP) level of 65% (Q1 2018) , but the Climate Action Plan recognises the need to facilitate a high penetration of over 90% SNSP and Eirgrid, Irish Transmission System Operator is planning to achieve this through system services, market arrangements and additional flexibility.
The Auction System
In 2019, Ireland announced its plans to procure renewables capacity through the auction system and the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme. The plan is forecasting 5 auctions over the next ten years in order to deliver up to 8.2 GW increase in onshore wind, at least 3.5 GW offshore wind and 1.5 GW of solar.
Ireland’s new scheme is framed within the context of the Climate Action Plan and the European Union’s Clean Energy Package (EU Clean Energy Package).The RESS will be consistent with the EU Clean Energy Package and the EU Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy 2014-2020. Below you can find a table describing the auction plan.
The programs can compete for three categories:
- Community: 0.5 MW-5MW
- Solar: 0.5 MW-125 MW
- All: 0.5 MW – equivalent of 600GWh/year
The eligible technologies are onshore wind, offshore wind, solar, hydro, waste to energy, biomass and biogas.
The duration of the scheme is between 14-16.5 years with an obligatory contribution to Community Benefit Fund of minimum 2€ per MWh
The characteristics on the RESS auctions are outlined at page 16 in the report.
The Market Drivers
The main market drivers involve various government incentives and policies to cope with the consequences of the the phasing out of coal in 2025.
- Investments in grid infrastructure to increase the renewable capacity along with the introduction of energy storage systems to enable a steady supply of power when renewable energy is unavailable
- Introduction of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme with its auction system. The auctions are expected to bring up to 8.2 GW increase in onshore wind, at least 3.5 GW offshore wind and 1.5 GW of solar.
- Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) which allows system operator to procure ancillary services (including frequency response and reserve services). This programme is a key driver behind the high interest and growth in battery storage in Ireland (current pipeline 2.1 GW). The first auction under this scheme was completed in 2019.
- Corporate Power Purchase Agreements: first Corporate PPA to fund a new wind farm in Ireland was signed in 2019. The Climate Action Plan 2019 expects that 15% of new renewable capacity will be contracted under PPAs.
Download the full report here
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