Helping you make sense of the energy and water sectors


Lumos: Shining a light on the Irish fuel mix

Anna Moss Retail Manager

This week, the government committed to raising the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources from 30% to 70% by 2030. Minister for Communications and Climate Action Richard Bruton said the commitment would require “significant changes” that will require strengthening the grid. What the announcement doesn’t address is the existing commitment to gas. In January this year, Minister Denis Naughten concluded a review into the connection of rural towns to the gas grid, saying that the “network should be developed generally in rural Ireland to provide natural gas to as many areas as possible, where it’s economical and efficient to do so”. A KPMG report (Irish Gas Pathways) summarising the proposals, outlined scenarios in which 300,000 more gas connections would be made in close proximity to the network, pushing the total number of connections to one million. Divination Increasing gas usage has been identified across the board as a pathway in the future of Irish energy. EirGrid’s Tomorrows Energy Scenarios Report outlines an expectation in all future scenarios that new gas generators will be on the system between 2017 and 2040, while the development of the Shannon LNG import terminal seeks to deliver lower prices reflecting direct access to international gas markets. The commitment to developing gas creates a certain level of tension between long-term aims to increase renewable energy generation and ambitions to extend the use of fossil fuels through the gas network. But there is alignment here – lessening the reliance on oil for off-gas households will reduce carbon emissions. Here the focus is on heating, and this move should lower consumer heating bills and make them less volatile, reflecting comparative benefits of gas against oil.  Dumbledore’s Army There is considerable opportunity for action. Connections to the gas grid remain relatively low across both the Ireland and Northern Ireland, with just under a third of household consumers using the fuel (Figure 1). By comparison, gas connections in Great Britain cover 83% of electricity connections, reflecting the creation of a national natural gas network to exploit North Sea supplies. Natural gas came to Northern ...

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