WIND ENERGY has provided 34% of Ireland’s energy so far this year, on the back of record figures in recent months, a new report shows.
The latest figures from Wind Energy Ireland found it accounted for 21% of all of the country’s power last month.
July saw a two-fold increase in demand met by wind compared with the same period last year.
Wind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe said the figures show it plays a “crucial” role in shielding customers from rising energy prices, even in months when the wind energy output is lower.
“While figures in July are lower than previous months, this is in line with seasonal expectations,” he said.
He said that “what is heartening to see is that wind energy met twice as much of the electricity demand this July as in July 2021, which is a significant increase”.
“Figures also show that even in months with lower output, wind energy still plays a crucial role in shielding customers from the worst of the fossil fuel-driven increases in wholesale electricity prices.”
Cunniffe said that while wholesale electricity prices rose significantly in the past month due to high fossil fuel costs, despite lower levels of wind generation there was still almost €40 in the difference between the cost per MWh on the windiest and least windy days – €256.66 and €295.58 respectively.
The average price for MWh per month was €267.19.
The latest data comes in the wake of a Government announcement last week that offshore wind generation targets will increase from five gigawatts to seven gigawatts per year by 2030 in a bid to meet climate change targets.
Cunniffe welcomed the increased targets but warned that the planning system needs to be urgently reformed to ensure projects are built quickly.
He said: “Our members have a project pipeline that is significantly bigger than 7GW. We have the investment, the skills and the expertise to respond to this call to action from the Government.
“However, in order to meet these targets, our planning system must be urgently reformed and properly resourced to ensure that the renewable energy projects needed to cut our carbon emissions and drive down electricity bills can get built as quickly as possible.”