In 2016, Ireland’s wind energy sector saw continued and steady growth. The total installed wind power capacity grew to 2,800 MW—an increase of 345 MW compared to 2015. This represents a new record for annual capacity addition, exceeding the previous peak of 270 MW in 2014.
As part of their commitment to the 2020 national renewable electricity target, the Irish government supported robust growth in deployment by extending deadlines for the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) II support scheme. Yet despite the strong growth, the percentage of electricity demand met by wind to fell to 20.9% and wind-generated electricity curtailment levels fell to 2.8% in 2016. This was largely due to a low wind year and increasing electricity demand.
An ongoing national R,D&D effort enables wind energy to achieve continued growth, particularly on grid integration issues. For example, the Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System (DS3) program executed by the Irish Transmission System Operator (TSO), EirGrid, has brought changes to electricity system operation, allowing an increased limit on the maximum instantaneous wind energy penetration .
Obtaining acceptance of new wind energy projects by host communities remains a challenge. The government has prioritized the introduction of measures and practices to improve this, supporting their measures with robust research.