04 Jul 2022

Government decides gas-fired electricity should be retained to fill renewable gaps

Government decides gas-fired electricity should be retained to fill renewable gaps

Government decides gas-fired electricity should be retained to fill renewable gaps

The government has decided gas-fired electricity should be retained to ensure security of supply across Ireland. 

It was announced today in the Policy Statement on Security of Electricity Supply, which detailed the decision to support high-emitting conventional generation (powered by peat, coal and heavy fuel oil) until new renewables are developed. 

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, spoke about the news and said, "Secure supplies of electricity are vital for our economy and society as we increase the share of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030. They are also vital to attract new investment into Ireland and for people and businesses to have complete confidence when purchasing electric vehicles and installing heat pumps.

"This new gas-fired capacity will be flexible enough to balance our national grid as we expand solar energy and onshore and offshore wind, and will be more efficient than our older oil and coal-fired power stations." 

According to the policy, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are variable in nature, and so require other technologies to support their operation and provide electricity when needed. 

The policy states: "As more wind, solar, storage and interconnection is added to the system, conventional generation is expected to operate less, but sufficient conventional generation capacity will still be required. This conventional generation will spend much of its time in reserve for when needed – e.g. when required to balance the system in times of high demand and low wind/solar generation." 

It's one of several actions being taken to enhance and ensure security of electricity supply across the country. 

According to the policy statement, the actions recommended are being led by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which has statutory responsibility for ensuring the security of electricity supply. 

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and EirGrid are working closely with the CRU to implement this programme.

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