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Ireland
Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Warning issued over ‘tight’ electricity supplies during winter months

Eirgrid CEO Mark Foley has warned that electricity supplies in Ireland over the winter months are expected to be ‘tight’ as power generators continue to be taken offline for essential repairs.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) stated that the demand from data centres is unprecedented in the history of the state.

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Foley told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment that Huntstown and Whitegate gas-fired generators are expected to be back online in October and November.

He added that other units will remain on outage and that the winter will remain tight.

Assuming that no other “force majeure” manifests, Foley said that his overall view is positive.

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However, he cautioned that an extended period with no wind will lead to further tightness on the system which would be coupled with a reduced ability to call on the UK for support.

He emphasised that “robust” contingency plans are in place so that we do not see an impact at the level of the consumer and/or essential services.

The CRU accepted that higher carbon-emitting generators will need to be kept in service, but will only run if they are “absolutely needed”.

In relation to gas supply, chairperson at the CRU Aoife MacEvilly warned that the security of natural gas supply is of “increasing strategic national importance” while highlighting the recent closure of the Kinsale gas storage facility and the ongoing decline of the Corrib Gas production.

She told the committee that this would leave Ireland dependent on the UK for 90% of its gas supplies by 2030.

IMAGE – “Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan” by The Green Party / Comhaontas Glas is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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