Energy Institute

What grid infrastructure is needed without wind?

We need an up-to-date grid infrastructure to:

  • Have competition between generators spread across the whole island of Ireland (gas, coal, peat, oil and as well as renewables such as wind) 1
  • Be able to carry power from where its available at any point in time to where it is needed 2
  • Access alternative sources of power generation when breakdowns occur
  • Be able to import electricity from abroad when it is cheaper
  • Similarly, to be able to export excess power when it is economically advantageous 3,4
  • Provide services like frequency control, black-start capability and other ancillary services related to the reliability and the quality of electricity supply 5
  • To facilitate economic development in regions which currently cannot host certain modern enterprises due to inadequate grid infrastructure.  e.g., the choice of Athenry as a location for an Apple data centre was made possible by a recent powerline upgrade

In summary the electricity grid is the principal means by which we enjoy reliable, affordable, safe and environmentally acceptable power. A secure energy infrastructure with adequate energy networks and storage facilities are essential for Ireland’s economy. Energy production, transmission and storage are vital components of the energy infrastructure and are crucial for an integrated energy market and meeting future requirements to reduce carbon emissions 6.