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Wind energy to power 200,000 homes wasted due to grid limits


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Electricity that could have powered 200,000 homes went to waste last year because wind farms produced more energy than the transmission grid could handle.

The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has called for swift measures to enable the grid to take on board all the power wind can provide.

Wind energy provided 32.5pc of the country's total electricity needs in 2019, but at certain times it accounted for more than 60pc.

With 24 new wind farms built last year and more in the pipeline, IWEA chief executive David Connolly says there will be no problem reaching 70pc on a continuous basis within 10 years.

But the electricity grid has capped the amount at 65pc and can only receive that volume over short periods and must order wind farms to reduce or even stop producing under 'dispatch down' directions if energy supply is too high.

Eirgrid, which controls the intake and distribution of power from wind, gas, peat, solar and other sources, has plans to beef up the grid, particularly in areas not strong enough to handle large volumes from wind.

It wants wind to be able to make up 95pc of power on the grid at peak times, although the investment needed has been costed at €2bn over the next five years.

Dr Connolly said the move could not come fast enough.

"These record levels of dispatch down mean an enormous amount of lost clean energy which must be replaced by fossil fuels," he said.

"We need a stronger transmission system to ensure that we are not wasting electricity."

Irish Independent