Actual solar generation is likely higher, given that the 110GWh of energy generation came only from grid-scale solar developments. Image: ib vogt.

Provisional data from grid operator EirGrid shows a third of the Republic of Ireland’s electricity came from renewable sources in June.

Grid-scale solar met 4.4% of Ireland’s electricity demand, a new high for the country. Actual solar generation is likely higher, given that the 110GWh of energy generation came only from grid-scale solar developments; 94,000 Irish homes are equipped with solar panels, representing 373MW of capacity, according to the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA).

EirGrid is working to achieve government-set targets for 80% of Ireland’s power to come from renewable sources by 2030. With 25.26% of the total system demand met by wind generation and some further input from hydropower and biomass, June saw renewables meet 33.53% of Ireland’s demand.

Eirgrid is responsible for the grid in Northern Ireland too via a separate, independent entity, and these figures only refer to the Republic of Ireland.

Charlie McGee, system operational manager at EirGrid, said: “Solar generation is naturally always strongest during the summer but this June saw a particularly high output, with solar playing an increasingly important part in our efforts to get more renewable electricity onto the system.

“June was also another strong month for wind energy, and this is now the third time that wind generation has passed the 600GWh mark in the month of June even as wind speeds drop during the summer months. This is because more generation capacity is coming onto the system.”

Currently, Ireland’s electricity grid can accommodate a maximum of 75% of electricity from renewable sources at any one time, a measure known as the system non-synchronous penetration (SNSP) limit. EirGrid says it is aiming to further increase the SNSP limit.

Battery energy storage projects are one way to speed the transition to a cleaner power grid, granting greater flexibility to electric systems as they work to improve grid infrastructure. Solar Media market research shows the total operational energy storage capacity in Ireland is over 700MWh, with 36MWh coming from storage capacity co-located with solar sites. The storage co-located with solar market has a pipeline of 1.5GW/2.4GWh, which is steadily increasing. 

That said, according to market consultancy Cornwall Insight, a ‘policy vacuum’ for long-duration energy storage (LDES) in the country threatens Ireland’s renewables potential. LDES is seen as key to balancing the grid’s growing renewable generation, like wind, over multiple days rather than just hours once their share of loads hits a critical mass. As such, the technology is seen as a crucial component of net zero.

This article was originally published on our sister site, Current±.