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Ireland facing uphill struggle to meet net zero target

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Renewable Energy

Ireland will need to more than double its renewable capacity over the next 25 years if it has any hope of achieving its 2050 net zero target.  

While Ireland is hoping to achieve net zero by 2050, the same time as the UK, the country faces more of an uphill strategy than its nearest neighbour. In 2019, the UK generated 37.9% of its total electricity needs using renewable energy, although Ireland’s target is for 16% of all its energy needs to be from renewable energy sources by 2020. That gives the UK a healthy lead in the race to net zero. 

Despite the UK’s lead, Ireland is still confident it can achieve net zero at the same time – 2050. However, findings from Cornwall Insight’s ‘All-Island forward curve’ – a comprehensive market and asset-level power price modelling service – found that the country will need to double its renewable energy capacity over the next 25 years. 

Niall Durham, senior consultant at Cornwall Insight, said, “The latest forecast from Cornwall Insight reflects how ambitious the Irish net zero targets are and how it is set to redefine the shape of the future power market.

“Our analysis also shows that a system dominated by 12 GW of renewable generation will require 5GW battery storage to operate. To obtain such capacity, it will require further incentive through programmes such as DS3 to ensure the system has the required flexibility to run at 95% System Non-Synchronous Penetration (SNSP).

“The increase in renewables generation along with new interconnectors (North-South and Green Link) will relieve the adequacy of supply issues mid-2020s. This, in turn, will see a fall in wholesale electricity prices over the second half of this decade.

“Pricing volatility is here to stay and likely to be an enduring feature of the market. The prospect of lower and more volatile prices creates uncertainty for those investing in “subsidy-free” or merchant capacity and will need to be considered in Ireland’s plans.

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