EA Ireland

Our Zero e-Mission Future

The EAI launched the publication of Our Zero e-Mission Future report in collaboration with the UCC MaREI Centre on the 20th of November 2020. Invited speakers at the launch included: Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan; Head of Energy at the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland, Richard Rodgers; Laura Mehigan, Energy Researcher at UCC MaREI and Henning Häder, Director of Policy Issues at Eurelectric.

The authors Laura Mehigan and Paul Deane examine the question: what will the electricity system look like in 2030 as it meets the challenges of renewable electricity policy, decarbonisation and security of supply?

Given that the electricity sector is committed to a decarbonised future and supports the Government’s ambition for a carbon neutral economy, the EAI approached the UCC/MaREI Centre to examine the question of what will the electricity system look like in 2030 and analyse the implications for achieving the 2030 and 2040+ carbon targets on these results.

Commenting on the report, EAI Chief Executive Dara Lynott said:

“This report is a postcard from the future and sets out the challenge we face of swapping the petrol in our cars and the kerosene in our boilers for plugs. If we can meet this challenge, we can take the carbon out of our economy as we take the carbon out of electricity generation.”

In summary the key findings were:

  • The all-island electricity System in 2030 will be different in scale and configuration from the system we see on the Island today.
  • The system will be 40% larger in capacity and will emit half of the carbon emissions of today.
  • In 2030 we will need all planned electricity interconnectors: North-South, Ireland-UK and Ireland-France in place. Back-up generation fuelled by natural gas will be essential but used less.
  • In cold, windless and cloudy conditions where electricity demand is high but weather dependant generation is low we will need all back-up generation to be available and all storage and system flexibility to be maximised.
  • A much more flexible and agile electricity grid will be needed to absorb the projected level of weather dependant generation.

Laura Meighan, Energy Researcher and report Author added:

“This is the most recent study of its kind providing up to date analysis and considerations for the All-Island power system in 2030 and beyond. Uniquely, we looked at over 250,000 hours of weather data across the island of Ireland to determine the extremes of weather we will experience and predict how flexible and reliable our power system will need to be.”

Dara Lynott added that:

“With one year gone and nine to go to halve our electricity carbon emissions by 2030, now is the time to turn our attention to the achievement of coordinated policy, planning and investment to facilitate increasing levels of electricity generated renewably. Ultimately it will be this renewable electricity that will be relied upon to fuel the back-up Zero e-Mission generation of the future.”

You can download our report and the supplementary data here:

Our Zero e-Mission Future Report

Supplementary Data

You can watch a recording of the launch here.