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generation shortfall

EirGrid raises concern over 'significant' electricity supply issues

The operator has said that the number of system alerts will likely increase, particularly with generators leaving the market.

IRELAND IS TO face “significant” electricity supply issues over the coming years, according to a new report from the Irish grid operator.

In its latest annual Generation Capacity Statement, EirGrid has predicted electricity capacity deficits within the next ten years.

These deficits are set to be seen sharply in the short term in particular, with EirGrid saying that this is due to the deteriorating availability of some power plants, leaving them unavailable ahead of their planned retirement dates.

The operator has said that the number of system alerts will likely increase, particularly with generators leaving the market.

“The number of system alerts will increase as our economy grows, electricity generators exit the market and demand increases, with significant new additional demand from the heat and transport sectors as they are electrified,” said Mark Foley, EirGrid chief executive.

EirGrid itself says that a system alert is “not an unusual event”, however the operator says that they are more likely to occur “in the winter months when demand for electricity is at its highest”.

The report highlights that current power plant capacity is “poor”, with some power plants that were scheduled to close in September 2023 set to be unavailable for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.

This is set to remove 590MW of power from the Irish grid.

The report also notes that 630MW of forecasted generation never arrived onto the grid, after contracted providers pulled out.

“This means that most new capacity that was expected to come online over the coming years has now withdrawn,” said EirGrid.

The report also mentions the procurement of 650MW of temporary electricity generation at two seperate plants, which Foley says is at “an advanced stage”.

The Journal previously reported that the temporary plant in North Dublin is expected to be in operation for up to five years to help address Ireland’s electricity shortfall.

EirGrid had initially sought to have these plants operational in 2022, with Foley telling RTÉ Radio One this morning that the sites will be in place in 2023.

EirGrid also expects the electricity demand from data centres to rise higher than previous forecasts due to “strong growth” in the sector.

The report anticipates that overall electricity demand will increase by 37% by 2031, with demand from residential, commercial and industry set to remain “relatively consistent”, while there will be major growth from data centres and new large electricity users.

This includes the expected increased uptake in electric vehicles and heat pumps.

In particular, EirGrid is forecasting that, by 2031, 28% of all electricity demand will come from data centres and other large electricity users.

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