Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Interconnector to UK providing just 4% of peak demand due to capacity shortage in the UK

With the UK Grid operators today resorting to emergency measures to keep the lights on, Ireland imported much less than usual from the UK during peak demand at 5.45pm. The interconnector has a capacity of 500MW which would normally be running at full load, or near full load, during periods of high demand.

But today, during the peak demand period, the interconnector ran at just 176MW or 35% of capacity.

This amounted to just 4% of our energy demand needs.

Last year, Irish Energy Blog warned this may become a problem if the existing capacity shortage in the UK remained :

But it is interesting that Eirgrid have taken no account of the situation in the UK where National Grid recently stated that Britain's spare capacity has fallen to a seven year low, prompting emergency contingency plans to be put in place such as shutting down large factories during peak periods.
Surely in this climate, where the UK National Grid are considering restricting demand in their own country, they will also be reviewing exported power to Ireland via the two interconnectors ? 
And it's not just the interconnector that is running at low output - our windmills were running at 1% for most of the day :

Same situation in UK and France:

UK wind output (blue line)

French Wind Output - providing just 2% of demand

So we are back to the "Do Nothing" Scenario - relying on our old power plants like we used to before the Green Blob raised its ugly head.

While we will have to pay a bit more for electricity generated here than we would have to pay if we imported it from the UK, it will still be cheaper than if it was generated by wind power.

But still our leaders insist that wind power and interconnectors are "the future". 


  1. The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) bills itself as Ireland’s leading think tank on European and International affairs and as an independent, not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. (See

    The Energy Policy Group, which is chaired by Mr Eamon Ryan has the objective of monitoring developments in EU Energy Policy and providing analysis of the implications for Ireland. Regular meetings are organised with leading international and European figures providing stakeholders from Ireland with an opportunity to gain insight and to influence the direction of future policy in this area.

    The group also facilitates initiatives aimed at the promotion of regional cooperation on energy issues. With members (stakeholders) including Airtricity, Bord Gais Eireann, Bord na Mona, Commission for Energy Regulation, EirGrid, ESB, NTR, Shell and Viridian Energy, it is reasonable to expect recommendations for more wind power and interconnectors.

    A list of recent speakers can be viewed at

  2. So why are groups like European Platform Against Wind Farms and Environmental Action Alliance -Ireland excluded? Eamon Ryan came to a meeting in Maynooth last Autumn and admitted he failed to comply with the Aarhus Convention and the SEA Directive for the protection of the environment while he was Minister for Energy. He wants that job again. I personally heard Deter Helm say the renewable energy policy would end in tears. That was in Trinity Collage about 2011.

    1. IIEA Individual Membership
      This membership package is ideal for individuals who have a strong interest in current European and international issues and who are not part of a large organisation. This is a tailored level of subscription to an incentivise individuals to engage with all the events and research of Ireland’s leading think tank.
      Eligibility: Self-Employed Individuals, Retirees, Post Graduate Students, Academics, etc.
      Rate: €250 per annum
      For further information on how to become a member please email: or call +353 (0) 1 8746756.

  3. There is a view that Bord na Móna may be heading towards financial difficulty as the size of the company does not justify the proposed build in Offaly and Kildare (ignoring the Oweninny Project). Their plans apparently include a build of nearly 900 megawatts on cutaway bogs at a cost of about €1.5bn.

    The Mount Lucas wind farm in reality probably retains little value after an investment of €115m due to the serious problems that BNM seem to be experiencing due mechanical down time. Is this a portent for future wind developments by Bord na Móna?

    And what are the implications for the hard-pressed taxpayer?