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2019

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D:Ream: EirGrid’s new strategy

James Goldsmith
James Goldsmith Senior Consultant (Ireland)

EirGrid unveiled their new strategy for 2020 – 2025 at a blockbuster event last week in Dublin. Headlining the event was the legendary Brian Cox and the EirGrid choir who both made fantastic appearances.

Amongst the glitz and the glam of it all however, there were serious announcements from EirGrid CEO, Mark Foley. He focused on increased investment in infrastructure and system services with the anticipated spend over the next 5 years to reach €2 billion.

This infrastructure investment, EirGrid says, “is required to ensure that the grid is able to support 70% renewables by 2030”. Is this spend realistic? Our SEM Chart of the Week surveys the market to find out.

Industry perception

Once the dust had settled on that €2 billion industry revelation, Cornwall Insight Ireland held our Pathway to 2030 event in Dublin. The audience heard from a variety of speakers and following an interesting keynote talk from David Connelly, CEO of the IWEA, we held a poll of the attendees to understand whether the 70% renewable energy target in the Climate Action Plan was realistic.

The mood in the room was reasonably optimistic about the potential for reaching the 70% target, but 48% were sat firmly on the fence. Grid infrastructure being the most cited reason for pessimistic thoughts on delivering the ambitious clean energy goals.

There is no doubting the ambition of EirGrid or the challenge in front of them for that matter. With curtailment reaching over 10% this year there are more investment opportunities than ever. The real challenge will be in delivering infrastructure and value to the consumer simultaneously.

Despite all the good noises coming from government, EirGrid and others on delivering a renewable energy transition there remains the usual challenges of planning and funding large projects.

It’s 3am, there’s too much noise

The reality of who pays and who’s backyard it goes in will always be a potential anchor on ambition in Ireland. The announcement of EU funding to the tune of €530 million for the Celtic interconnector will be welcomed, as it will take some of the financial burden off the shoulders of the consumer.

The more challenging battle begins now for EirGrid though, as it looks to upgrade the system across the country.

Planning challenges have put another hold on the North-South interconnector, a long overdue piece of the grid puzzle. There is likely to be the now routine planning challenges and objections over the coming years as that €2 billion needs to be translated into physical infrastructure across the country.

 

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