5 ways wind power is set to change Ireland
“A blustery day” has taken on a new meaning in Ireland in recent years.
Ireland is still one of the most energy-dependent countries in Europe, but the emergence of wind power has seen our windy weather being harnessed as a one of the big solutions to rising emissions.
Wind is now the world’s quickest growing renewable energy source and has been for the last seven years. This trend is now continuing across the world and in Ireland as the costs of wind energy fall and the need to tackle carbon dioxide emissions to prevent climate change becomes more apparent.
Ireland still imports over 90% of our power. EU targets require us to generate 40% of electricity from renewables by 2020. We are half way there, principally through wind.
Here are 5 ways that wind power is set to change Ireland:
1. Solution to Rising Emissions
“Wind energy will play an important part in the solution to rising emissions” says Minister for Communications and Climate Change Denis Naughten. Ireland currently has an over-dependency on imported fuels. While recognizing that some people object to wind farms and wind turbines, the Minister has stated that he wants to see some more continued consultation on the issue. He has endorsed the commitments in the new Programme for Government to update wind farm planning guidelines.
2. Ireland’s largest Wind Farm in 2017
Ireland’s largest wind farm, the Galway Wind Park is currently being built by SSE Airtricity - the 169MW Galway Wind Park. Developed in partnership with Coillte, and representing an investment of €280million, the project is employing over 350 people during its construction. When completed in autumn 2017, it will be Ireland’s largest wind farm, capable of powering over 80,000 homes, equivalent to almost 90% of the homes in Co. Galway. It is a wind farm cluster, consisting of four wind farms – Cloosh, Lettercraffoe, Seecon and Uggool.
3. The Power to Power Ourselves?
How often do we stop to think about energy use in Ireland? How do better harness the power to power ourselves? The first wind farm project in Ireland was established in Bellacorrick, Co. Mayo in 1992. Wind power is now emerging as a big force in Ireland. The green energy generated by SSE Airtricity at 25 wind farms across the island now powers almost 300,000 Irish homes.
The current grid connected and operational installed wind capacity on the island of Ireland is 3025 Megawatts (MW). It’s estimated that this capacity can provide enough electricity to power over 1.97 million homes.
4. Ireland – Aim for 40% by 2020
In order to achieve Ireland’s national targets for renewable electricity for 2020, which is 40%, an estimated 5,500 to 6,000 MW of wind generation is required. Wind energy is projected to have provided 24% of Ireland’s electricity in 2015 compared with 18.2% the previous year and it is set to rise again this year.
So what can you do? If your business or home is currently supplied by non-renewable energy, the Irish Wind Energy Association is encouraging people to investigate the possibility of switching to a renewable wind energy provider. “This has the effect of supporting current wind energy suppliers and encourages both the expansion of current wind enterprises and entry of new ones”.
5. Wind Power – Source of New Jobs
Ireland still imports 85% of our energy at a cost of €5.7 billion to the country, according to the ‘Energy Security in Ireland’ report published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Dr. Eimear Cotter, Head of Low Carbon Technologies points out: “We have plentiful clean and renewable resources here in Ireland. Maximising these resources will reduce our dependence on costly imported energy and improve Ireland's standing as a sustainable and self-sufficient economy."
Wind as a source of electricity grew from 0% in 1990 to 20% by 2013. Over 3,000 people around Ireland now work in the Irish wind industry sector, which has a total capacity of 1774MW. Thousands of new jobs are due to be created, from project managers to turbine technicians, if the country is to progress and build approximately 275MW per year to meet the 40% EU electricity target.
SSE Airtricity now supplies greener electricity and natural gas to 800,000 homes and businesses on the island. The company is Ireland’s largest provider of 100% green energy. SSE Airtricity offers gas and electricity supply and energy services for homes and businesses across the country. Join now and get 10% off electricity plus €120 credit*