Feedback is being sought on a new report that details approaches to developing the grid in order to meet Ireland’s 2030 renewable energy target.

EirGrid and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan have today (Monday, March 8) launched a nationwide consultation on the future of Ireland’s electricity system.

‘Ireland is currently lagging far behind on emissions targets’

They are asking anyone interested in Ireland’s energy future to consider the approaches outlined in Shaping Our Electricity Future and provide feedback.

“Climate change is one of the starkest challenges we face and Ireland is currently lagging far behind on our emissions targets,” the minister said.

In the coming decades we will be electrifying large parts of our economy, including our heating and transport systems, so building a grid that can handle a high level of renewables will be critical to our success.

EirGrid has been asked by the government to transform the electricity system in anticipation of a future without coal, oil, peat, “and ultimately one with net zero emissions”.

Specifically, it must redevelop the grid to manage 70% of Ireland’s electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030.

The four approaches

Shaping Our Electricity Future comprises four approaches to achieving this, as well as meeting the projected increase in demand for electricity over the coming years:

  1. Generation-led: Government policy would influence where renewable energy is generated – favouring locations where the grid is already strong;
  2. Developer-led: In this approach, continue to connect new sources of renewable electricity as requested in any location;
  3. Technology-led: This approach uses technical solutions to make the grid more resilient so it can better handle the variable nature of renewable energy;
  4. Demand-led: Government policy determines where large energy users locate in Ireland.

Each of the four approaches requires numerous investments in network development projects throughout the country, with costs ranging from €500 million to €2 billion.

Collaboration with the public and stakeholders

Over the next 14 weeks, EirGrid will hold a series of workshops, meetings and fora across the country online and, if possible, in person, to inform people and gather feedback that will influence the final roadmap.

The consultation material has been prepared with the support of the National Adult Literacy Agency to ensure the language is accessible to non-technical audiences.

In addition to this, EirGrid has launched a new consultation portal that will host the consultation material and act as an accessible platform for people to submit their views.

Mark Foley, EirGrid Group chief executive, said: “The grid requires unprecedented change in the next 10 years.

This transition to clean electricity will affect everyone in Ireland and will unquestionably be difficult, however, the benefits will be truly transformative at both a societal and an economic level.

“Because of this, we are hosting a nationwide consultation to find an agreed approach to reach the 2030 targets. We want to collaborate with the public and all stakeholders.”