2022 EAI Members Webinar on Shaping our Electricity Future
Article originally published in our Industry Update newsletter published on the 28th of January .
On Tuesday, 18th January, the EAI was delighted to host a webinar with EirGrid’s Liam Ryan (Chief Innovation Officer) and Robert Ahern (Project Manager) on the technical aspects of EirGrid’s recent publication; ‘Shaping our Electricity Future’ (SOEF). We would like to extend our thanks to Liam and Robert for their presentation, along with the members who participated in the discussion that followed.
In summary, EirGrid view SOEF as the blueprint towards a secure transition to at least 70% renewables on the electricity grid by 2030 and, an investment of approx. €1.1bn in the grid, across 40 projects, on top of the PR5 allocated investment and approx. 100 projects already committed to by the group. Readers will recall that the regulator’s final decision on PR5 included a “re-opening” process that would enable EirGrid to spend monies and undertake projects not specifically identified in the final allocation for PR5
This publication was preceded by an unprecedented level of stakeholder engagement. Over 80 submissions were received from interest groups including EAI, the move to remote working on account of COVID, making this level of engagement possible. EirGrid noted strong support for microgeneration and a general desire for continued engagement throughout the transition amongst the general public. A level of public ownership of the transition and the ability to derive an economic benefit will be important considerations for the success of the programme. The consultation has revealed that while industry endorses a developer-led approach, a position which EAI supports, the Irish public favours a generation-led approach. As Eirgrid have stated in earlier iterations of this high-level plan, these approaches are not mutually exclusive; and a blend of all four scenarios could achieve the best results, with greatest acceptability.
In order to future proof their planning, EirGrid have allowed for a 50% increase in electricity demand over the decade to 2030 to account for the load from electric vehicles, heat pumps and LEUs.
Some of the key questions posed by our members and answered during the webinar include:
- Q: What are EirGrid next steps? Are there intentions to update this roadmap?
- A: EirGrid and SONI are committed to updating the Roadmap annually to cater for the changing energy environment. Already there is a need to review the roadmap in line with the Government’s increased ambition, which was confirmed at the COP meeting on the same week that SOEF was launched.
- Q: Will future iterations include post-2030 plans?
- A: The upcoming publication in December will feature a 2030 time horizon. After which, future publications will include a post-2030 examination. This will consist of both onshore grid and offshore grid. It will also explore plans to avoid scenarios where Ireland is paying its neighbours to take excess MW in times of oversupply or buy MW in times of undersupply, as is the case with certain EU member states.
- Q: How will the plan help to attract the significant levels of investment required?
- A: A fundamental concept of EirGrid market evolution to 2030 is “The right investment, at the right time, at the right cost to the consumer”. EirGrid is aware of the need to improve investment signals, particularly longer-term investment signals, and this will include making investment signals entry, not just exit.
EirGrid’s 2022 Stakeholder Engagement Plan
A: SOEF is included as a key area in EirGrid’s 2022 engagement plan. In an ongoing consultation, EirGrid confirm plans to establish a series of regional assemblies modelled on the Citizen’s assembly and to engage with local authorities and youth groups to improve public acceptance of the grid infrastructure identified in EirGrid’s overarching strategy.