EirGrid has today (Thursday, October 6) warned of significant electricity supply issues in the coming years due to a widening gap between supply and demand.
The company’s latest generation capacity statement (GCS) predicts a challenging outlook for Ireland, with capacity deficits up to 2031.
EirGrid is forecasting that demand for electricity will increase by 37% by 2031.
Demand from the residential, commercial and industry sectors is expected to remain relatively consistent across the decade.
EirGrid said that the largest growth in demand will come from data centres, new large-energy users, and an increased uptake of electric vehicles and heat pumps.
By 2031, 28% of all electricity demand is expected to come from data centres and other new large-energy users.
The company noted that the energy deficits will increase in the short term due to the “deteriorating availability of power plants”.
In later years, the situation is predicted to improve as new capacity comes from single electricity market (SEM) capacity auctions.
The report said that most new capacity which had been expected to come online in the coming year has now been withdrawn.
365MW of capacity has been withdrawn by developers from the system since last year, in addition to 266MW previously “terminated”.
Commenting on the latest report, Mark Foley, EirGrid chief executive, said:
“Since 2016, the GCS has warned of an increasing tightness between demand and supply. This year’s GCS forecasts significant electricity supply issues over the coming years with an increase in the tightness between supply and demand.
“The number of system alerts will increase as our economy grows, electricity generators exit the market and demand increases, with significant new additional demand from the heat and transport sectors as they are electrified.”
The report notes that the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has developed a programme of actions to address the challenges.
This includes procuring 700MW of temporary emergency generation, extending the operation of older generators and tariffs to reduce electricity demand at peak times.
It is also planned to deliver over 2000MW of generation capacity by 2030 through all-island capacity auctions.