What does EirGrid need to change so at least 70% of Ireland’s power can come from renewable sources?
EirGrid carries out three connected roles in the electricity system.
- We run the electricity market.
- We plan for the future of the grid.
- We operate the grid - including interconnection with neighbouring grids.
This public consultation focuses on preparing the grid for more renewable electricity. This is because changes or additions to the grid have more potential to impact communities and individuals.
But the grid is just one aspect of the electricity system. Achieving 70% renewable electricity by 2030 will also see considerable change in how the grid is operated – every minute of every day. Our proposals, if adopted, will also lead to changes in how the wholesale electricity market works.
Changes to how we operate the grid
There are many technical challenges to running the grid when most electricity comes from renewable sources. Our goal is to ensure the electricity system remains stable and supply is secure.
Our operational response to these challenges will lead to a range of new technical solutions, policies and tools. Consultation with the electricity sector will help us find the best set of solutions.
Changes to the wholesale electricity market
We do not generate electricity – we operate a set of all-island markets. These give generation companies a chance to compete to supply power. They also allow specialist providers to offer solutions that keep the electricity system strong and stable.
The markets are operated using a series of regulatory rules. At present, these rules are largely driven by the price paid for energy. These rules were designed to ensure consumers pay the lowest costs possible when generators use fossil fuels like oil and gas.
However, a market dominated by renewable generation creates new financial and technical challenges. In particular, renewable generation costs more to develop, but then has lower operating costs.
The markets also need to fund investment in new technical solutions to maintain the resilience of the electricity system. For example, how do you run the power system when there is no wind for a long period of time?
For these reasons, a market dominated by renewable generators will need new rules. Our consultation on the energy markets aims to suggest and agree these rules.
Do you want to know more about these changes?
Both of these aspects of the clean energy transition are also open to separate consultations. These are mainly technical, procedural and regulatory changes. If you want to learn more about them, visit the industry consultation page.
Shaping our electricity future
The next decade has the potential to be revolutionary for Ireland’s electricity system. With your help, we can build on the results already achieved in the last ten years. We can continue to lead the world in how much of our electricity comes from clean, renewable sources. We have the potential to meet the challenge of the climate crisis with innovation and cooperation that will be an example for others.
Ireland can make a meaningful difference to a global crisis, but it will mean embracing and accepting change. Some of these changes may have local impacts, but they will benefit all of Irish society for generations to come.
EirGrid is committed to a collective and collaborative form of decision-making. We want to hear your concerns and listen to ideas that you may not see in our draft approaches.
If we can reassure you, we will. If we can use your suggestions to improve our draft approaches, we will. We are genuinely open to workable ideas that can prepare the grid to take at least 70% of Ireland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The first step is to tell us what you think, or to ask any questions you may have about these draft approaches. We want to hear from you – so please get in touch.