Sunday, 31 May 2015

Eirgrid forecast higher demand than during the boom

In Eirgrid's recent capacity statement, given a recovery scenario, demand for electricity by 2019 is forecast to equal demand at the height of the boom and after this it is forecast to exceed these levels.

Ireland, like the UK, has a low energy to GDP ratio. We barely manufacture anything here, most of it is outsourced to China and India, so what exactly are Eirgrid expecting ? Perhaps there will be another industrial revolution, this time in Ireland.

It appears that Eirgrid are basing these high forecasts on data centres such as Apple moving to Ireland:
After some years of decline, demand in Ireland has shown some signs of increase. In the near future, more growth is expected to come from the expanding data centre sector which already accounts for over 200 MW of demand, and which is incorporated in our demand forecasts

 This means that data centres are highly energy intensive, consuming power equivalent to half the output of a conventional gas power plant on full load (Gas plants are usually 400MW). If this is the case, then erratic wind energy can in no way ever provide sufficient reliable power to a data centre. Some form of conventional back up power supply will always be required.

So why are these data companies always held up as a shining example by the green movement ?

But in any event, I will put my blogger reputation on the line, and predict that these demand levels will not materialize. The rising cost of electricity for industry will surely drive any heavy industry out that might consider re-locating here.


  1. Up until 2000, Ireland produced its own fertiliser at Arklow requiring a huge amount of electricity for synthesising ammonia and processing. Now its all produced oversees. We have some indigenous industries left which use a lot of electric power, but its declining and the exist of Cadburys to Poland may be just the start. This mad buzz about wind energy has given us 40% more generating capacity then we need and the 3rd highest electricity prices in the world. A manufacturing plant left Carrickmacross recently. Statement that wind brings down the wholesale cost of power defy logic.

  2. World Report on RTE this morning included an account on Baoding, a city located in Hebei province around 100 miles south of Beijing. Paradoxically, it appears that the city which hosts top-10 solar panel manufacturer Yingli and wind power manufacturers Tianwei Wind Power Technology and ZhongHang HuiTeng Windpower Equipment is also one of the top ten most polluted cities in China. Any CO2 emission reduction achieved by Ireland using imported wind turbines is offset by the emissions generated at the point of manufacturer. Is this a zero-sum game?

  3. Mark Paul wrote in the Irish Times of 29th April that Apple has this week sought partnership proposals from developers for a number of new green energy projects, each of up to 50 megawatts capacity.
    Its data centre in Athenry will require capacity estimated at more than 300MW for services such as iTunes, Maps and Siri and Apple has stipulated that proposals must be eligible for subsidies under the State’s REFIT program, which applies to onshore wind, hydro and biomass
    This is an addition of 300MW to the national load which will mean further proliferation of wind turbines to meet the 40% target. All subsidised, dear fellow citizens, by REFIT subsidies paid for by you and I.