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.