Data centres will increase energy needs by 18pc in five years
Published 12/07/2016 | 02:30
Domestic wind energy has saved Ireland around €70m in foreign energy imports since the start of the year, it has been claimed.
In the opening half of the year indigenous wind energy met over a fifth (22pc) of the country's entire electricity demand, according to new figures from the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).
This figure puts Ireland almost on a par with other leading EU Member States such as Spain where wind energy produced 23.6pc of power in the six-month period.
IWEA head of communications Brian Dawson warned that Ireland must keep an emphasis on renewables.
"It's critically important that we continue to focus on developing these clean and indigenous energy sources and focus on reducing our dangerously unsustainable 85pc reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports," he said.
Overall wind energy capacity has reached a new record in Ireland, hitting a peak that has the potential to regularly power over 1.6 million homes.
Irish wind energy production peaked on January 28 when output hit 2,132 megawatts (MW), representing around 60pc of electricity demand at the time.
Mr Dawson said wind energy is beginning to deliver value for electricity customers and promoting significant investment.
"Public interest in wind energy as a clean, renewable energy for Ireland is also high," he said.
During June 1,500 people visited windfarms across the island. Currently Ireland imports 85pc of its energy, placing it just behind Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg.
The country's current import level is 35pc above the European average.
Outside of the renewable benefits of wind energy, the IWEA said there will be much bigger demand for energy here as more tech companies locate data centres here.
The association predicts over €2bn worth of potential data centres to increase Ireland's overall energy demand by 18pc over the next five years.
The IWEA predicts the number of people working in the sector to more than double to over 8,000 by 2020.
Windfarms in Ireland are becoming more valuable to the construction industry. The latest forecasts for the IWEA predict windfarm construction could be valued at €500m by 2020.
Windfarms began operating here 24 years ago with the total number of farms across the country standing at 200.