Ireland

Wind Energy in Ireland


Ireland.jpgWind energy in Ireland continued on a strong growth trajectory in 2017. The country added unprecedented 568 MW of wind power capacity— a 20% increase that was almost 50% greater the previous annual record. Wind energy accounted for 24.8% of national electricity demand, an 18.7% increase from 2016. A high level of construction continues to build out capacity under the now closed, REFIT support scheme, which will help deliver on Ireland’s 2020 targets.

The high-level design of a new auction-based renewable electricity support scheme was published in 2017. Community investment in and ownership of renewable electricity plants is central to the design of the new scheme. Extensive changes are under way in the electricity market, including a revamped capacity payment mechanism and new system services arising from the “DS3” R&D program. Wind plants were qualified to tender for many of the latter services in tests during 2017.

SEAI formed the Irish Wind Energy Research Network in 2017, which held its first meeting in September. The network aims to connect and provide continuity to research projects, as well as inform national wind energy research strategy. It will initially achieve this by providing a forum to highlight recent research projects and to facilitate informal networking among researchers.

Visit the Irish Wind Energy Research Network webpage, and please review Ireland's chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2017 Annual Report.

National Targets


Meeting the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets remains the primary driver of Ireland’s national policy. Wind energy will deliver almost 50% of the national renewable energy target aover 80% of the renewable electricity target.

As wind energy will make such a major contribution to both the renewable electricity and overall renewable energy targets, continued build out of approved projects is of paramount importance. It is also important to obtain fleet-wide efficiency improvements for existing wind farms, as this will significantly
reduce shortfall on the target.

Operational Details


Ireland constructed 568 MW of new wind power capacity in 2017, bringing the nation’s total capacity to 3,368 MW. This was almost double the previous annual installation record and represented a 20% increase in installed capacity.

Wind-generated electricity amounted to 7,441 GWh (24.8% of total electricity demand) in 2017—an 18.7% increase on 2016. Wind curtailment rose to 3.7%, increasing 32% on 2016 levels. However, these statistics may underrepresent the potential output of the installed wind plants; 2017 was a low wind year with an average capacity factor of 27.5%, which is 2.5% lower than the long term average (around 30%).

National R,D&D Priorities and Budget


National R&D priorities for wind energy outlined in the 2015 energy research strategy include power system integration; development of smaller, cost-effective systems for community-based sustainable energy initiatives; and social acceptance of such technologies, focusing on models of community ownership/participation. There is no specific wind energy research budget in Ireland, and the total R&D funding dedicated to wind energy in 2017 is unavailable.