The electricity regulators of Ireland and Northern Ireland are to commission an independent study into the impacts of increased wind energy penetration on Ireland's electricity system. Consultants are yet to be appointed to conduct the study, expected to have begun in January. It will assess the feasible level of wind power which can be accommodated on the existing transmission system, the potential impacts of increased wind generation on system reliability and power quality, and the costs and benefits of accommodating more wind. Two studies of the effects on the grid of increased wind power have already been published in recent years by the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and Eirgrid, the network operator. But both came from different viewpoints, explains a spokeswoman for the Commission of Electricity Regulation (CER). The IWEA study found the grid can accommodate at least 20% of electricity from wind without any modification, whereas the Eirgrid study was "quite conservative," she says.