Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (548)

Bernard Durkan


548. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount of electricity being generated from onshore wind, offshore wind, hydro and solar sources; the extent to which this can now form part of a reliable electricity grid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22100/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The most recent Energy in Ireland report which covered the period up to end 2017 was published in December 2018 by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Renewables, including wind (25%) generated around 30% of Ireland's electricity in 2017, with the other main sources being gas at 51%, coal 12% and peat 7%.

Provisional figures for 2018 show that renewables generated 32.5% of electricity with wind providing 27.6%, hydro 2.3%, solar 0.05% and biomass/other renewables 2.6% points of that. Electricity from natural gas in 2018 accounted for 52.5% of generation, coal accounted for 7%, peat 6.8%, wastes 1% and oil 0.5%.

EirGrid, as Transmission System Operator, ensure the power system remains stable through all grid conditions. EirGrid has indicated that wind and hydro accounted for 34% of electricity consumption during maximum load periods (5pm to 7pm) during the winter months from November 2018 to February 2019.

In 2010, EirGrid launched the Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Power System (DS3) programme which allows increasing levels of wind and solar generation on the grid while maintaining grid security. The DS3 Programme now allows for two thirds of electricity at any one time being generated on the island of Ireland to come from wind, solar generation, hydro and other non-fossil fuel, with the goal of increasing this level to 75% in 2020.

The All of Government Climate Action Plan will be stepping up ambition in the renewable electricity sector with 70% of our electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2030. This will require significant changes to the operation and management of the electricity grid, so as to integrate wind and solar energy at scale.