The Minister for Environment, Climate & Communications Eamon Ryan T.D. has welcomed the publication of the provisional results of the recently held electricity capacity auction for the period commencing October 2024.
The capacity auction process, which operates on an all-island basis, is the primary method for securing new electricity generation capacity that is needed to replace the capacity of oil and coal fired stations expected to close, to support the growth of renewable electricity and to ensure security of electricity supply.
The provisional capacity auction results include over 1,100 MW of new gas-fired generation and over 120 MW of battery storage in Ireland.
Commenting on the provisional results, the Minister said, “the Government has set an ambitious target of up to 80% of electricity consumption to come from renewable sources by 2030. This is double the current share of renewable electricity and will require development of significant levels of wind and solar generation. It also requires flexible gas-fired generation and storage that can support the variable nature of renewable electricity production and ensure security of electricity supply as we phase out coal and oil for generation.”
The Minister went on to say, “the Climate Action Plan sets out the need for circa 2,000 MW of gas-fired generation over the period to 2030. This generation will replace existing high-emitting power stations and is expected to spend much of its time in reserve to operate only when needed. The provisional auction results published today are a key step towards delivering the generation needed. It is now vital that these projects are developed.”
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities, which has statutory responsibility to monitor and take measures necessary to ensure the security of electricity supply, developed a programme of actions which was published in September 2021. The Department works closely with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and EirGrid in order implement this programme of actions.
Significant progress has been made to date including:
- The publication of the provisional auction results for the period commencing October 2024, including over 1,100 MW of new gas-fired generation and over 120 MW of battery storage in Ireland.
- Provisional results of a further capacity auction for the period commencing October 2025, expected to be published next month.
- Improved availability of existing power stations – most notably the return to operation to two key gas-fired power stations last year.
- Procurement of temporary generation for the forthcoming winter is underway.
- EirGrid and ESB Networks are implementing a direction from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to prioritise data centre connections on the basis of location, availability of on-site generation, and flexibility in reducing demand when required.
- EirGrid revised its emergency load shedding procedures so that, in the unlikely event of insufficient supply being available to meet demand, they would seek, where possible, to reduce demand from the larger consumers first, thus reducing the likelihood of impacting homes and small businesses.
- The Department is progressing the review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems and will commence a public consultation in the coming months.
- Work has commenced on a strategy, focussing on the development of green hydrogen, to be included in Climate Action Plan 2022. This will ensure that green hydrogen is available to the new and existing gas-fired power stations and will ensure that decarbonisation targets in the electricity system are met.