Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE)
The Irish Government has published the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP 2021–2030) which sets out targets for reducing Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions over the next decade. The plan aims to increase the penetration of renewable electricity generation to 70% by 2030 by incentivising the construction of up to 9.2GW of new renewable energy projects. This amounts to approximately 80% of all current generation capacity in the country.
This paper is the first of a series to be produced by the Irish Academy of Engineering examining various hurdles that must be overcome if such a transition is to be successfully accomplished over the next decade. These hurdles include among others:
• Large scale investment in new transmission capacity in order to efficiently connect the new generation to the existing transmission system (National Grid).
• Measures to ensure short-term system stability given the likely connection of large amounts of non-synchronous generation.
• Measures to manage the intermittency inherent in new renewable technologies.
• Electrical interconnection to other jurisdictions and the market issues associated with the potential large-scale import and export of electricity.
In this paper the IAE focuses on the first item on the above list and seeks to set out the issues – initially from a European perspective.
The Academy has raised ten questions in the final summary which it believes require urgent consideration if the NECP targets are to be achieved.
Principal among these is the social acceptability of transmission investment among the community at large. Based on European experience, the Academy suggests that the Government must take direct ownership of this issue.