Ireland may not have enough electricity to meet demand by 2026, or potentially even earlier, the operator of our electricity grid has starkly warned.
A new report by Eirgrid has said demand is expected to increase by as much as 50% over the next 10 years as new data centres are built and more electric cars take to the roads.
At the same time, the coal burning power plant Moneypoint is due to close in order to meet climate targets and other fossil fuel plants may also face closure before 2026.
The grid operator said that, while there is currently a significant surplus of electricity here, this will be “eroded as the demand forecast increases with each passing year and some generation plant is assumed to shut.”
It said that, in its median projection of demand, “significant deficits are expected from 2026” – and potentially even earlier if some plants close sooner.
The report raises the prospect of building new electricity plants to cope with increasing demand. While wind farms are a rapidly growing component of the system, a form of backup is needed as sometimes the wind doesn't blow.
Eirgrid said its projections demonstrate “the need for new low-carbon plant to be commissioned from 2026.”
Chief Executive Mark Foley said: “Demand in Ireland is continuing to increase and is forecast to continue.
“With this increase in demand, and the expected decommissioning of generation plant due to decarbonisation targets and emissions standard, it is expected that new generation will be required.”