Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Delay in New All Island Electricity Market Raises Questions over Future of Power Stations

The new All Island Electricity Market (I-SEM) was set to come into operation in May this year but has now been delayed by six months. This raises questions over what will happen to two power stations set to close this year. Both Huntstown CCGT in Dublin and Kilroot in Northern Ireland failed to secure capacity payments in the recent I-SEM auctions and signaled their intention to close down by the end of May. This would be disastrous for both Dublin and in particular Northern Ireland, which, with no replacement generation ready, would face the prospect of prolonged blackouts for the next year at least. With all the focus being placed on renewables and battery storage, there still has been no proper impact assessment (nor media coverage), now needed more urgently than ever, on how the Irish grid will cope without these power stations.

The blame for the delay in the I-SEM has been put down to software problems. Which is something this blog highlighted a few years ago - the increased administration costs and problems that could arise from the increased complexity of operating a grid designed around wind energy. 

8 comments:

  1. 1st October is the date as far as I know. Where has the full year delay information come from?

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    1. Sorry that's my mistake fixed now

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    2. Actually, I-SEM was originally schedule for October 2017. So it has been delayed for a full year.

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  2. Carmel McCormack26 April 2018 at 18:27

    Interesting that it has been delayed.

    You'd think the software would have been sorted out before the auction.

    How can conventional generators be expected to invest, plan and operate properly and at maximum efficiency with so many changes and uncertainties in the energy market?

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  3. Amazingly, the government of Ireland have rolled the Commissions for water and energy into one. The Commission for Utilities. How the staff making key decisions can be proficient in the complex area of electricity and water simultaneously is beyond my comprehension. It may point is what the problem is. Water can be put into a bucket and they think electricity can be put into bag. I heard a representative from it being interviewed on the radio and she said the phrase "I suppose" six times. Decisions like the one in this article (Huntstown) are made on supposition. Like choosing a holiday destination. When pressed on how the lights would be kept on after the conventional generation plant was switched of, she replied "batteries". Qualification should require a degree in electrical engineering and also a degree in civil engineering. Can't imagine a youth doing that. I bet a degree in media studies would trump them all when applying for a job with them. If an applicant said she did not like wind mills, she would not stand a chance. It is sad, but on the bright side it is entertaining to watch. For once government and its agencies are the village idiots. No soap opera could match it. Meanwhile wind companies are busy selling wind farms back and forward to each other.

    Meanwhile over on the politics discussion forum on the Environment my thread was Is this the end of the Irish Wind Farm Racket. Valamhic username. It was going well with the pro wind side on the back feet. I published the wind company account details and got about 12 on it. Next thing I was banned until June the 8. I thought they might have given me penance to do like confession. Readers can register and comment. The lunatics are really running the asylum LOL.

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  4. The Regular has a very ideological view of mathematics. Similar to that in Canon Law counting the number of Angels on top of a pin head. It you from a mathematical or engineering perspective you think that has no relevance . You have no relevance.

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  5. In the end of the day, government has some very difficult decisions to make. There is 50% more capacity than needed now and there is 45,000 MW of capacity waiting to bet in. It seems that so long as bankers are prepared to lend or investors are prepared to invest companies will form and build wind farms. The market is already saturated. My guess is they will muddle on and kick their mess down the road. Great pity the public does not know about it.

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  6. There is an interesting point at the end of the main article, the administration of a grid which was originally designed for fossil fuel firm generation but is in transition to (and which will eventually be if plans work out) highly dependent on intermittent renewable. No amount of forecasting can make the wind blow or the sun shine, especially in Ireland. Human decisions will have to be made on how much fossil fuel back up plant will be left running. No sound engineering assessment appears ever to have been carried out. They seem to be putting Ireland in the category of a test laboratory.

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