Meeting the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets remains the primary driver of Ireland’s national policy. Wind energy will deliver almost 50% of the national renewable energy target aover 80% of the renewable electricity target.
As wind energy will make such a major contribution to both the renewable electricity and overall renewable energy targets, continued build out of approved projects is of paramount importance. It is also important to obtain fleet-wide efficiency improvements for existing wind farms, as this will significantly reduce shortfall on the target.
Progress & Operational Details
Ireland constructed 568 MW of new wind power capacity in 2017, bringing the nation’s total capacity to 3,368 MW. This was almost double the previous annual installation record and represented a 20% increase in installed capacity.
Wind-generated electricity amounted to 7,441 GWh (24.8% of total electricity demand) in 2017—an 18.7% increase on 2016. Wind curtailment rose to 3.7%, increasing 32% on 2016 levels. However, these statistics may underrepresent the potential output of the installed wind plants; 2017 was a low wind year with an average capacity factor of 27.5%, which is 2.5% lower than the long term average (around 30%).
National RDD Priorities and Budget
National R&D priorities for wind energy outlined in the 2015 energy research strategy include power system integration; development of smaller, cost-effective systems for community-based sustainable energy initiatives; and social acceptance of such technologies, focusing on models of community ownership/participation. There is no specific wind energy research budget in Ireland, and the total R&D funding dedicated to wind energy in 2017 is unavailable.