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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Alamy Stock Photo Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says Ireland came close to an amber energy alert in recent days.
# energy supply
Varadkar: Electricity supply will be ‘very tight’ in weeks ahead
Varadkar says the Government has been warned that the margin between energy supply and demand ‘will be very tight’.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 8th 2022, 1:30 PM

IRELAND CAME CLOSE to an amber alert in the energy system in recent days and there is a risk of potential alerts in the run-up to Christmas, Tànaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, Varadkar said the Government has been advised that the margin between energy supply and demand “will be very tight”, particularly over the course of the next week or two as temperatures are set to drop.

Demand for electricity is high at the moment and generating capacity is stretched, he said.

“But I do want to say this and say very clearly. We did come close to an amber alert in the last couple of days. We haven’t had one since August although that may well happen.

“But an amber alert means that there is enough electricity available. It’s when you get to a red alert that you get into a different scenario. That hasn’t happened yet. We can’t guarantee that it’s not going to happen,” said Varadkar.

If the country has a red alert, where the demand for electricity outstrips the amount we can generate, the Tánaiste said the first port of call is to power down the large energy users, such as data centres, that have their own backup electricity.
“We’re not going to have a situation whereby the first call is on homes or farms or small businesses – that will be way down the line,” he said.

Varadkar said he wanted to reassure people that the likelihood of brownouts or blackouts affecting homes or businesses is highly unlikely.

“I just want to make that very clear to people and hopefully give them some degree of reassurance about power supply over the winter period,” he said. 

His comments come as it is set to be another bitterly cold day today with weather warnings for low temperatures and ice kicking in. 

Met Éireann has warned there will be hazardous conditions as a band of wintry precipitation sinks southwards, leading to a potential for black ice and freezing rain on surfaces.

The forecaster has said there will be severe frost with icy surfaces, as temperatures widely fall to -4 degrees. Three Status Yellow warnings are due to kick in across the country tonight

The RSA has urged cyclists and motorcyclists to be especially vigilant, while the Department of Transport has stated that all transport operators will keep their services running but the impact of the weather in certain areas may be worse than in others.

Further advice and information on the being prepared for the cold snap can be read here

With reporting by Hayley Halpin.

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