A total of 544MW of demand side units (DSU) was contracted for in the recent All Island I-SEM capacity auction. Each DSU will qualify for capacity payments of € 41,800 per MW. So that's a total of €22 million that will be paid each year to encourage off grid generation, including "dirty" diesel generation, in my opinion, a consequence of the mad rush for wind energy. Since wind cannot always be depended on to meet demand, the obvious solution is to reduce demand.
A Demand Side Unit (DSU) is a demand site that can be instructed by EirGrid to reduce electricity demand. Instructions to reduce electricity demand are called dispatch instructions. Where a DSU consists of more than one individual demand site it is called an aggregated DSU. A DSU uses a combination of on-site generation and/or plant shutdown to deliver a demand reduction in response to an instruction from EirGrid [Eirgrid].
However such industrial sites can offer demand reduction services through a combination of load reduction, running standby diesel generators, or running inactive Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant [Rationale for DSU].
Many data centres have installed diesel generators, so presumably they can also qualify as a Demand Side Unit, which will greatly reduce the load on the now wind dominated grid. In fact, we may soon see the entire industry of Ireland registering to become Demand Side Units which would greatly reduce electricity demand and thereby make it easier to meet our renewable targets. Although, in reality, it would be a fudge and would make a mockery of our "green" credentials as we would still be as dependent on fossil fuels as ever.
It is ironic that the mad rush for clean wind involves moving away from very efficient gas generation to inefficient fast acting forms of generation such as diesel. In fact, the capacity auctions saw DSU's take precedence over the very recently built modern and efficient CCGT in Huntstown, Dublin. So we have one policy which seems to prefer higher emitting generation in direct conflict with the other policies that encourage lower emitting generation.
It was no surprise then that recently it was announced that Ireland's carbon emissions were rising. This is because central planning is about box ticking and meeting targets rather than a sensible all round plan that can adapt and respond logically to feedback.