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File image of a wind farm in west Cork Alamy Stock Photo
wind energy

Wind farms set new record by providing 35% of electricity used on island of Ireland last year

It surpasses the previous record set in 2020.

WIND FARMS PROVIDED 35% of electricity on the island of Ireland last year, a record breaking figure.

Last year, wind farms produced 13,725 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, surpassing the previous record set in 2020 of GWh.

The above figure is the equivalent to the electricity consumption of close to three million Irish families.

Gigawatt hours are often used as a measure of the output of large electricity power stations.

A normal Irish household will use around 4.6 megawatt-hours of electricity in a single year, and a gigawatt-hour is equal to 1,000 megawatt-hours.

Meanwhile, last month was the best month for wind power generation in 2023, with wind energy providing 50% of the country’s electricity.

The figures come from Wind Energy Ireland, which is the representative body for the Irish wind industry.

In its annual report, it estimated that wind farms saved around 4.2 million tonnes of carbon last year, which is equivalent to the carbon produced by 1.9 million cars.

The CEO of Wind Energy Ireland Noel Cunniffe remarked: “Electricity generated from Irish wind farms replaces imported fossil fuels.

“The more wind we can get on the electricity grid, the less we rely on imported gas and the more we can cut our carbon emissions and keep that money at home.”

He added that the figures are a “true success story” and that Ireland is “on the way to an energy independent future”.

However, he also said that Ireland “cannot build the wind farms we need to achieve energy independence without a planning system that is fit for purpose”.

He also called on the support of “EirGrid and ESB Networks to develop a much stronger electricity grid” so that “we can get energy to where it is needed”.

“Progress to date on the Planning and Development Bill has been welcomed by industry and the Government’s plan to put in place mandatory timelines for planning decisions as part of the new legislation needs to be fully supported,” said Cunniffe.

“Both planning reform and grid reinforcement must remain top priorities right across the political system in 2024.”

The Wind Energy Ireland report was published by energy specialists Baringa.

Its analysis also found that without wind energy, Ireland would have had to spend an additional €918 million on gas.

The Noteworthy team wants to investigate if putting wind farms on our bogs is undermining climate and nature targets. Support this work here.

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