Helping you make sense of the Irish energy sector


May 2021


SEM articles of the year: All I want for Christmas is RESS-2

Cathal Ryan
Cathal Ryan
18 December 2020

With COVID-19 dominating our everyday lives, we saw similar trends in our most popular articles for the year. Demand shifts were observed in domestic and industrial settings with working patterns shifting from offices to homes all around the country. It was also a landmark year for the renewables industry with the first RESS auction held this year securing Irelands first grid-scale solar, with several more auctions to look forward to over the next few years.

Based on the number of downloads, these are the top five most popular SEM articles from 2020.

Five: Sail away: Offshore wind vs. RESS

Week commencing 6 March saw the European Commission propose a “Climate Law” enshrining in legislation the objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. In this SEM article, we considered the role of wind in achieving the 2050 goal, and Ireland’s role in the European Green Deal.

Four: Changes: Demand falling in SEM

With the unexpected arrival of COVID-19, there was a significant shift in human behaviour. Having been two weeks removed from the Irish Government’s instruction to close schools and advising businesses to allow employees to work from home where possible, we wondered what the impact had been on energy demand across the Island of Ireland. In this SEM article, we looked at the change in demand on weekdays due to the change in behaviour.

Three: Caught in the balance: Assessing amber alerts in the SEM

On 21 January at 10:30am, SEMO announced the issuing of an amber alert. An amber alert is issued when the system margin is at a level where a trip of the largest in-feed would give rise to a reasonable possibility of either a failure to meet system demand, or cause a significant deviation in system frequency from the norm.

In this SEM article, we observed the recent amber alert which was issued, along with the impact of new balancing market modifications.

Two: Tootsie slide: Demand drop

Since both governments on the island of Ireland moved to restrict movement in the light of COVID-19, we observed changes to working patterns resulting in a reduction and shift in demand profile for the island of Ireland. This SEM article looked at how much this has reduced since restrictions have been in place.

One: RESS-won: renewables on the march

4 August 2020 will be remembered as a good day for the Irish renewables industry, with the level of supported renewables capacity set to grow by over a quarter in the next 2-3 years.

After years of waiting, the first Renewable Energy Support Scheme auction (RESS-1) results were here (provisionally, pending appeals). Individual prices are confidential though the average published prices were: community projects – €104.15/MWh, solar – €72.92/MWh and all projects – €74.08/MWh.

The headline was the 796MW of solar projects securing contracts. The big implication is, assuming successful delivery, Ireland could have 800MW grid-scale solar projects in the next couple of years. The solar industry lobbying has delivered.

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