The Irish electricity market is fully liberalized in line with the European Union (EU) energy framework. The $2.6 billion Irish market for electrical power generation equipment is very receptive to U.S. technology. In the face of strong international competition, U.S. companies have achieved success in supplying technology, equipment, and systems to Irish power generation operators. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and ESB Networks have collaborated on smart networks research around renewable energy integration.
National grid operator, EirGrid, reported fully dispatchable plant capacity in Ireland at 7,313 MW in 2021 in its Generation Capacity Statement 2021-2030 while onshore wind generation capacity was over 4,500MW. Dispatchable capacity is currently in decline through the decommissioning of several older generating stations that fail to meet environmental targets on emissions related to the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75/EU. In 2021, over 1,700 MVA of demand capacity is contracted to the 70 data centers and other large energy users based in Ireland. Demand from data centers alone is forecast to account for 25% of all energy demand by 2030. Concerns about energy security have steadily emerged during 2021 as strong demand and unexpected shortages in supply are placing strain on Ireland’s electricity grid.
As Ireland transitions its electricity sector to low-carbon renewable energy, there are substantive opportunities for a wide range of innovative technologies encompassing communication and data management software, grid optimization and automation technologies, demand response and control systems, smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure, energy management for distributed generation and storage, cyber security software and services, and consumer engagement platforms and services. The deployment of emerging leading-edge solutions utilizing artificial intelligence are expected to play an expanded role forward.
Ireland’s largest energy company, ESB, has ongoing investment plans for upgrading its power generation assets, transmission, and distribution networks through 2027. Planned network transmission projects by EirGrid (Ireland’s TSO) together with investments in generation capacity by independent power producers will also offer potential market opportunities. As the Ireland’s 2021 Climate Action Plan requires that 70% of electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2030, some 10GW of additional renewable generation will need to be developed over the next decade. This presents both logistical and technical challenges for the TSO. Ireland currently has 65 percent of renewable power connected to the grid which, by 2030, must increase to 95 percent. At the same time, the TSO must ensure that the electricity system remains stable and supply secure. Because of concerns about the reliability of older and increasingly unreliable electricity plants, it is anticipated that 450MW of gas-fired emergency generation capacity will be procured in 2023/2024 to bolster the system.
Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU): https://www.cru.ie
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI): https://www.seai.ie/
Electricity Supply Board (ESB): https://www.esb.ie/
Electric Ireland: https://www.electricireland.ie
ESB Networks: https://www.esbnetworks.ie/
Irish Academy of Engineering: http://iae.ie/publications/?themes=energy
Public Procurement Portal (eTenders): https://www.etenders.gov.ie/
For more information about Ireland’s powergen sector, please contact:
Commercial Advisor – Energy Sector
U.S. Commercial Service Ireland