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Understanding The Grid

The energy grid is essential to our lives and crucial for a sustainable future. Energy is needed, yet the sector produces more carbon dioxide emissions than any other industry. With the push for a renewable future free from fossil fuels, how you and your business rely on the grid will change.

In Ireland, energy consumption across all sectors accounted for almost 60% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. This energy is used across all sectors like manufacturing and agriculture as well businesses and residential settings. If you and your business can increase savings by producing your own energy, those savings can help maximise your profits and increase efficiency.

We’ve already seen around the world that the energy sector is the first to be targeted for change. In Ireland, a massive investment is needed for the grid to integrate increasing amounts of energy and to meet the rising demand for electricity. For Ireland to meet its climate targets, much of the energy sector will see changes this upcoming decade. These changes will see your personal and business sites see a change on your energy bills. It is important to know how the grid operates and what options are available to save money and how decreasing dependency on it could be beneficial for your business.

Understanding the Grid

Currently, the grid in Ireland supplies 2.5 million customers from a combination of coal, peat natural gas, wind and hydropower. In 2018 natural gas produced almost 52%, while wind turbines generated about 28%, coal 7%, and peat 7% of Ireland’s average electricity demand. The grid runs as a synchronous electrical grid and in terms of interconnections has undersea DC-only connection to the UK National Grid. It has advanced stage plans for a higher power, planned Celtic Interconnector to France. This project aims to improve security of supply, reduce consumer electricity costs and support the development of renewable energy.

However, some energy experts still indicate that the national grid must be upgraded further to better facilitate the renewable energy transition. So far the grid has had some struggles with surges in onshore wind power. A report indicated that in one year 11% of renewable electricity generated was lost because the grid was not strong enough to accommodate it. This lack of efficiency carries long term risk, because if the country continues to see lost levels of power like this, future renewable energy projects, like those supporting solar energy, won’t be built.

Energy Buy Back
As noted in one of our previous blogs, Ireland has plans to introduce a scheme allowing individuals, community groups, business owners and farmers to sell excess electricity produced by renewable energy back to the national grid. Under the proposed scheme, mico-generators can sell 30% of the excess electricity they produce and export it back to the grid. While this sounds generous, due to the high upfront costs of purchasing and installing solar panels on your own, it could take years to recoup a fraction of the cost. One estimate indicated it would be at least ten years under the scheme to recoup all of the costs, not including any maintenance issues along the way. The scheme is planned to start in July of this year, however, it has yet to be seen if this will happen on time. Even if it does happen, many experts don’t believe that the 30% figure is enough of an incentive to take advantage of the scheme.

Overall, Ireland still has a ways to go when it comes to upgrading its grid for a sustainable future. The country is talking the talk when it comes to sustainable infrastructure but not necessarily walking the walk. As companies are contracted out to install renewable energies around the country, adjustments must be made to the grid to further accommodate the future. Current incentives will need to be adjusted and infrastructure investments will be needed, both of which could take years due to the current global pandemic. This presents a great opportunity for you and your business to get ahead of the curve by going the subscription route.

We’re Here to Help

Thankfully with our Solar as a Service, you won’t have to worry about an expensive upfront cost that would take years to recoup, your savings would start right away. Our solar array comes with an automatic shutoff when you produce excess electricity and no matter how much you produce, you pay a fixed rate for the duration of your subscription. This means you won’t have to worry about owning the equipment and paying for maintenance. By decreasing your dependence on the energy grid through renewable energy, you are maximising your efficiency and instead focusing on what you do best, managing your business. Get in touch to learn more!