Ireland

Ireland

Ireland - Close to 2020 target but UK link on hold

IRELAND: Ireland's aim to supply its domestic market with 40% of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade remains well within reach at the current rate of progress.

The country added 319MW of new installed capacity in 2013, all of it onshore, to bring its total wind portfolio to 2.01GW. An annual addition of around 275MW should be sufficient to reach the target.

Wind is accounting for 18% of generating electricity and, according to energy minister Pat Rabitte, saving EUR1 billion a year on fossil-fuel imports. But Ireland's most ambitious wind development — up to 8GW installed in the republic's Midlands region and exported through a subsea link to the UK — has hit the rocks, temporarily at least, despite the Irish and UK governments signing a memorandum of understanding last year.

The Irish government has accused its UK counterpart of being disorganised over its energy policy, causing delays that would have prevented the project from being completed by 2020 to meet EU targets. But there was also considerable local opposition to such a huge development.

Kenneth Matthews, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, describes the situation as "an opportunity delayed rather than an opportunity lost", but there seems little chance of a wind-power export deal on this scale getting under way anytime soon.

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