Since the first Irish wind-farm was commissioned in 1992, the country and its renewable power sector has changed significantly. The Bellacorrick facility in County Mayo was the vision of Bord na Móna. It now boasts 21 turbines able to generate 6.45 MW. Today, the Republic is home to a total of 264 wind-farms. With more to come as a result of what Naughten says are “pretty ambitious” targets, such as the removal of fossil fuels for power generation by 2027.
It is not just wind technology that is shaping Ireland’s future power mix, solar photovoltaic (PV) is also proving to be a considerable player!
In July 2018 the Irish Government published its plans for a Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS), warmly welcomed by the Irish Solar Energy Association which said it was making history in providing initial government support for the Irish solar industry.
“By 2030, 55% of all of our electricity needs will be met from renewable sources,” says Naughten. Naughten was keen to stress the significance of the country’s €500m Climate Action Fund, one of four set up as part of the National Development Plan. The plan provides support for initiatives that contribute to achieving Ireland’s climate and energy targets in a cost effective manner.
Last year, the Government of Ireland, through the SEAI, invested €120 million in sustainable energy upgrades and actions. Among the beneficiaries were; 21,350 homeowners, 37 communities, 310 businesses, and 2,000 purchasers of electric vehicles. The SEAI highlighted these figures as it reported on its outcomes for 2018. These citizens and businesses are the early adopters and are now using less energy, enjoying lower day to day costs, and are more future proofed as Ireland determines its approach to carbon taxation and climate action.
For a full breakdown of the SEAI grant click here