Shaping Our Electricity Future – EirGrid launch 14-week consultation on future of electricity grid
Eirgrid have launched a new consultation: Shaping Our Electricity Future.
This consultation aims to identify the best way for Ireland to move from reliance on fossil fuels to cleaner energy. EirGrid is responsible for the flow of electricity around the country and we are hosting a nationwide 14-week consultation to find an agreed approach to reach the Government’s 2030 renewable electricity target – of at least 70% of Ireland’s electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030.
Homes, communities and businesses across Ireland cannot “go green” without the right electricity grid to transport the renewables-based electricity. Over the next 10 years, we are going to transform the system – without question, the most radical transformation of the grid since electricity was invented.
Ireland has world-class conditions for renewable energy – wind (on- and off-shore) and solar – and with the right infrastructure in place we can decarbonise the system. Ireland needs significant investment and development of its electricity grid if it is to meet the social and economic policy goals of the country. This will mean making far-reaching changes to our electricity system – changes that will affect everyone on the island of Ireland. That’s why we want to collaborate with the public to find the best way of shaping our electricity future.
We have outlined 4 approaches that we are seeking views on and these include:
Approach 1: Generation-Led – Plan for electricity generation at the most suitable locations
- In this approach, government policy would influence where renewable energy is generated – favouring locations where the grid is already strong and taking local demand into account.
- This makes better use of the existing grid. It could also lead to more offshore wind generation on the east coast – reducing the need for onshore wind farms.
Approach 2: Developer-Led – Continue to develop the grid on a project-by-project basis in any location
- In this approach, we continue to connect new sources of renewable electricity as requested in any location – upgrading and strengthening the grid to suit circumstances in each case.
- This would mean completing over 100 individual projects between now and 2030 which is not feasible.
- This approach means we would not meet our 70% 2030 target
Approach 3: Technology-Led – Change the technology used for the grid infrastructure
- This approach, using proven technology, makes the electricity grid more resilient, so that it is better able to handle onshore renewable energy.
- It uses underground cables to carry high voltage direct current – moving clean electricity from the west coast (where the energy is generated) to the east coast, without disrupting the existing grid.
- It is an expensive, technically challenging and complex solution and is rarely used on national grids.
Approach 4: Demand-Led: The location of large energy users is decided by government policy
- This approach means government policy determines where large scale energy users – such as data centres and big industries – are located.
- Heavy electricity users like these would be situated closer to sources of renewable energy.
- Though it would mean influencing the decision making of high-demand customers wishing to set up or expand in Ireland.
- Changing where electricity is used in this way would need the support of stakeholders. Without it, we could not achieve our 70% target by 2030.
There are some foundation projects that are common to all four approaches and the final plan is likely to include elements of all approaches, strongly led by one of them.
A key aspect of the launch today is the scale of the consultation we are planning to undertake. Over the 14-week period we will be hosting groups and forums and working in partnership with industry, the National Youth Council of Ireland, Irish Rural Link, Chambers Ireland and others to host consultative forums and discussions. A central component will also see the holding of a Deliberative Dialogue (modelled on the Citizen’s Assembly).
Details on the North East regional virtual workshop are given below:
- Thursday 29th April
- 7pm to 9pm
- Registration link:
Members of the PPN can also participate by
- using our online portal at consult.eirgrid.ie where there is plenty of detail on the approaches
- via post EirGrid plc, Freepost FDN 5312, D04 FW28 or
- by emailing email@example.com.
We would be delighted for PPN members to be involved in Shaping Our Electricity Future.
- Click here for the consultation brochure
- Click here for the press release
- Click here for the animated explainer video
- Click here to access our new consultation portal