Last Saturday the 15th June marked Global Wind Day where the world celebrated the contribution and role wind is playing in the path to a more decarbonised world. For those of us working in the renewable energy industry it is good to have days like this which force us to take a step and acknowledge the positive impact that wind has and continues to make in Ireland.
The first wind project was built in Bellacorrick, Co. Mayo back in 1992 and great progress has been made since then. Fast forward almost 30 years and we now have circa 3500MW operational on-shore wind projects today. Much of this is has been facilitated by Government support schemes used such as REFIT to incentivise development in order to achieve the country’s goal of having 40% of our electricity generation coming from renewable sources by 2020. Although it is projected that we might fall short of this 40% target it shouldn’t detract from the tremendous growth wind has had in Ireland.
The benefits of more wind is that we have renewable energy generators displacing fossil fuel generation which helps the environment for future generations. Furthermore, from an economic perspective the data shows that the more the wind blows the more it has a depressing effect on wholesale electricity prices which is good news for consumers.
However, with more and more renewables on the system, especially wind, comes more challenges. This is mainly due to the intermittent nature of wind unlike the more traditional generation the electricity grid has been built around. Eirgrid are doing good work to accommodate the huge increase of renewable projects onto the grid and have a roadmap to get us there. This is not an easy task and recently Ireland has further bolstered its commitment to renewable energy by revising its new renewable electricity target up from 55% to 70% by 2030.
Wind energy in Ireland has a good story to tell and Global Wind Day reminds us that we all have a role to play in ensuring that we tell this story and the industry has to continue trying to win the hearts and mind of Irish people and communities.
Naturgy supplies 100% renewable energy and works with various stakeholders to ensure a clean energy future for Ireland working with our customers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK with a renewable energy strategy that suits their business needs.