Blowing Away Expectations: Irish Wind Farms Smash Records in April

"Wind Energy Breaks Records and Pushes Down Wholesale Prices in Ireland"

Wind energy has set a new record for the amount of electricity it provided to Ireland’s grid last month. Wind Energy Ireland, the representative body for the country’s wind industry, reported that wind energy supplied 35% of the country’s electricity in April. For the first four months of the year, wind energy has met 38% of power demand. This is a significant increase from the same period last year, with the amount of electricity produced by wind energy up 8% against April 2022. The share of demand met rose from 32%.

The average wholesale price of electricity fell in April for the fourth consecutive month to €125.57. This is the lowest the average monthly price has been since June 2021, but still significantly above average prices before the fossil-fuel energy crisis began. On days with the most wind power, prices fell even further, with the average cost of a megawatt-hour of electricity at €108.01. Wind Energy Ireland says that wind farms are helping to push down wholesale electricity prices.

Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, said that Ireland’s wind farms are reducing the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, supporting Irish jobs, and helping to push down wholesale electricity prices while cutting carbon emissions. He added that “the quicker we can build wind farms, and the faster we can reinforce the electricity grid, the sooner we can rely on Irish renewable energy to provide our electricity.” However, he warned that families and businesses remain at risk while the country remains dependent on imported fossil fuels. If there is a cold winter or if China returns aggressively to the LNG market, Ireland will be exposed again to record electricity prices.

This week, Ireland closed its first-ever auction for offshore wind energy, which is expected to provide a route to market for up to 2.5GW of offshore renewable energy to the Irish grid. The terms and conditions for the next onshore renewables auction were also published. Mr. Cunniffe welcomed the clear timetable for onshore renewable energy auctions, but said it must be ensured that “as many projects as possible are competing against each other to provide power at the best price.” He added that they are only expecting a small number of wind projects to be competing in the next auction, as many are being delayed in the planning system.

“We will not achieve our Climate Action Plan targets, much less energy independence, with a planning system that is simply not fit for purpose. This year’s budget must prioritize proper resourcing for An Bord Pleanála, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, local authorities, and key environmental stakeholders,” he said. Wind Energy Ireland’s report is based on EirGrid’s SCADA data compiled by MullanGrid and on market data provided by ElectroRoute.

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