Monday 29 February 2016

Apple data centre delayed

There's an interesting twist in the Apple data centre saga as An Bord Pleanala have raised questions about it's renewable credentials :

"An Bord Pleanála’s second issue is how Apple will make good on its promise to power the centre entirely from renewable energy. The letter said: “No site or project-specific information regarding renewable energy projects is provided and details of how they might be connected to the proposed development is required.”

Obviously, most of Apple's claims about renewable energy are hocus pocus designed to appeal to young hipsters but now they will actually have to back up their claims with a plan based on engineering reality rather than ideology. Things could get tricky for them.

Thursday 25 February 2016

France ignores European Court of Justice ruling

Ireland is likely to miss its renewable energy targets for 2020, resulting in hefty fines - Irish Times, 2015.
I came across this article today and it struck me as another good example of how judgements made by the European Court of Justice are simply ignored by Member States - in this case, France. Too often we peasants are threatened by our political class with fines from our European masters. But if France don't bother complying with ECJ rulings, then why should Ireland, or anyone else for that matter ? 

There are good reasons to believe that France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain and the UK will miss their 2020 targets. The bogeyman of EU fines should not be used to force the people of Ireland to accept short term, hasty and poorly thought out decisions on energy.


Likelihood of Member States meeting their 2020 targets :
See pages 78-79 of EPAW submission -

I'm French, but I've lost my patience with the EU. I'll be voting Leave - Article published by Telegraph, Feb 2015

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Does Ireland have Low Cost Renewables ?

A recent report by the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) has been rolled out lately by the Department of Energy as evidence that their policy of more and more wind energy is a low cost one. According to the report, Ireland has a renewable support of € 2.03 compared to the EU average of € 13.68. Sounds pretty good, right ?

Well, once again, the data refers to the year 2012, just like the SEAI report that is also rolled out by wind energy proponents. Somewhere around 600-700MW of wind has been added since then. The report also looks at 2013 but curiously there is no data for Ireland for this year. 

So why is 2012 chosen and not any of the subsequent years ? Well, the wholesale price of electricity was high in this year. Why is this relevant ? The higher the wholesale price, the lower the renewable subsidy required and vice versa. The level of support was calculated by subtracting the REFIT (or subsidized) price from the wholesale price for 2012 :

In the case of FITs [Feed-in-Tariffs], the level of support was estimated by subtracting the average wholesale electricity price from the overall tariff and therefore is not the same as the full FIT granted to producers.

CEER used a wholesale price of € 63.20 for 2012 (click on graph to show wholesale price) :

But if we look at a recent day, the wholesale price is now between € 20 and € 40 : 

The Energy Regulator (CER) calculates the annual cost of renewable supports each year, taking into account the wholesale prices and the installed capacity of renewable generators. This is then used to calculate the PSO Levy to be applied to energy bills.  Back in 2012, the PSO Levy was still in it's infancy with a total cost relating to renewable energy (mainly wind) of  just € 37 million. 

But by 2016, the CER had calculated total renewable supports (again mainly wind) of € 181 million, almost five times the cost for 2012.  The CER cite lower wholesale prices, lower capacity payments and more renewables, mostly wind, as the drivers in the increase. 

Demand is now around 26,500 GWh so if we work out renewables support per unit of electricity consumed we now get € 6.83 for 2016, over three times the cost for 2012 that CEER have calculated.

Evidently, this is only the direct cost of renewables like wind. There are other, mostly hidden, system costs that are subsidized by consumers. The CEER report acknowledged this point in relation to the grid costs in Ireland :

In addition, in Ireland, the generator pays 100% of the construction of the Least Cost Connection physical connection to the transmission system i.e. the shallow connection works. Any deep reinforcements required to facilitate the connections are not charged to the generator. 

We can throw in another € 4 billion plus for that. 

When Ireland goes offshore, the experience in other EU countries tells us that it will require a higher subsidy that onshore wind, so the cost of renewables will rise further again. In 2012, many other EU countries had offshore wind whereas Ireland did not.

It is also interesting to note that certain EU countries like Poland, Belgium and Sweden never introduced tariffs or subsidies for renewables, instead opting for Green Certificates. Are we really comparing like with like here ?

Lastly, have a look at pages 57-67 of the CEER report. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland all opted for exclusively feed in tariffs supports. Italy used a mix of supports including FITs. Then if we add the total cost we get Spain € 6 billion, Portugal € 700 million, Greece € 1.1 billion and Italy € 9.5 billion. The PIIGS countries spent over € 17 billion on renewables supports in 2012, at a time when their banks and economies were going down the drain. Most of these countries are still in financial distress. 

Were the likes of Sweden, Romania, Poland and Belgium craftier when they opted for Green Certificates rather than fixed subsidies like Ireland and Greece  ? I can't really say for sure, but I have a hunch that they were.

References :

CEER Status Review of Renewable and Energy Efficiency Support Schemes in Europe in 2012 and 2013 (January 2015)

PSO Levy Paper for year ending 30th September 2012 - see page 19, cost of REFIT and AER schemes.

PSO Levy Paper for year ending 30th September 2016 - see page 4.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

The Future of Oil Exploration

Guest Post by David Whitehead, geologist and paleoclimatologist

 Irish offshore  oil and gas may well be on it's last legs. The success ratio is too low, the oil price is too low ( and will remain so for decades although with occasional spikes due to political and/or logistical crises). Corrib has shown how investor unfriendly we are, the geology of the Irish offshore is very difficult ( thick chalk over prospective horizons) and the sea conditions are deep water and  highly exposed to  weather  extremes ( there are regularly 50 ft high waves and hurricane force winds  off our South and West coasts) . That is why there is so little interest in exploration of the Irish offshore - whatever the hypothetical resource base might be. Eamon Ryan is delusional in as far as he seems to believe that if we raise taxes on production sufficiently  the oil companies  will be induced into coming here and  exploring the Irish offshore.

Moreover people do not appreciate that shale oil and gas and directional drilling and developments in  hydraulic  fracture propagation and maintenance ( frakking for short) has radically changed the paradigm of the oil and gas  from being a resource constrained business - where the source of rent is the rarity and difficulty of finding an economic reserve - to an industrial process which can be successfully applied over wide areas largely eliminating exploration risk. These developments have allowed the USA to change from being the world’s largest oil importer to being an oil and gas EXPORTER. This, and the revival of production in Iraq and Iran ( following the end of sanctions) have collapsed the price of oil on world markets.

The principal requirement for success and hence the economic rent will in future come from being able to obtain a production permit and satisfying  the production regulations   ( esp. environmental compliance) so as to be able to produce from very widespread   bituminous shale  resources using “frakking” techniques, rather than from having  to discover an oil or gas field from which hydrocarbons  flow spontaneously under natural pressure or induced by water injection  and CO2 flooding. The Anti frakkers worked this out - hence the nature of the anti frakking strategy.  They are not interested in the environment or people’s lives - they want to end the Capitalist system  and       realised that  the best way to do this is to deprive it of cheap energy.  

This sort of  transformation happens from time to time  in industry - think of the change in dynamics caused by the discovery of how to breed salmon in captivity - Salmon went from being the rarest and most expensive of fish to being  one of the cheapest and most widely available. Similarly the invention of the process to recover nitrates from air killed the Chilean and Peruvian nitrate mining business and allowed the expansion of fertilizer manufacture which permitted  the enormous growth  of  global agricultural production ( not to mention the explosives required for WWI and WWII).There are many other examples (especially how steam power eliminated wind and water milling and the sailing ship!)

The old oil and gas  business model relied on the source of economic rent being  the discovery of rare and difficult to find oil and gas fields and such discoveries, required specialised geophysical surveys, and interpretative expertise. This was  time consuming , expensive and subject to very high failure risk. Once a field was discovered, if it was big enough, it would be economic. The OPEC strategy of keeping oil prices high meant that it was sensible to explore in remote and difficult areas such as the north Slope of Alaska, the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these fields were developed and  those  in production will continue to produce because the marginal cost of production is  low ( often $<10/bbl ). Many  old fields will now be able to stay in production   much longer because the new methods allow recovery of oil not  previously accessible. The average recovery of oil from an existing field with earlier technology - including CO2 and water  flooding`-  is only around 1/3 rd of the contained amount.  Now in many cases  much of the remaining resource can  be recovered. This will extend the life of many  oilfields already in existence  around the world.

Oil and gas have ceased to be scarce resources - forget about peak oil theories - we have and can access enough oil and gas  to last at least a couple more centuries - by which time we might not need it as a fuel anymore as small scale ,fail-safe fission reactors  and perhaps even small scale fusion technology will most likely be available.

The Greens have lost the bet!

Sunday 21 February 2016

General Election 2016 - what are the Parties real views on Green Energy ?

 Show me your friends and I'll show you your future - Anonymous

We can best tell what each Party's real views on green energy by looking at what groupings they join in the European Parliament. Last year the Commission presented it's energy union package outlining how it intends to achieve Europe's transition to a low carbon economy. 

Fine Gael are joined with the European People's Party (EPP), Sinn Fein are joined with European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), and Labour are joined with Socialists and Democrats (S&D). Fianna Fail's current grouping is more problematic as discussed below.

The EPP, S&D and ALDE groups were more positive to the energy strategy, welcoming its enhanced focus on security and climate.

Fine Gael's grouping thought the energy union would lead to cheaper energy : 

The EPP found the proposals to be in line with the group's priority to assure "cheaper energy for citizens and enterprises". 

Labour's grouping wanted binding targets :

The S&D was pleased with the inclusion of a decarbonisation target but reiterated its call for binding targets to achieve the goals set by the strategy. 

Sinn Fein's Green leftist grouping surprisingly disapproved of the proposals :

GUE/NGL on the other hand disapproved of the proposals to involve the commission in energy agreements, unless it was requested by the member states concerned. 

 Sinn Fein's grouping are campaigning for 100% renewables by 2050, so it's uncertain as to why they disapproved of an energy union :

Fianna Fail were joined with ALDE, a pro green energy group, but their remaining MEP last year defected to the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), the same grouping that has the British Tories and Ulster Unionist Party. The ECR seem to be pro-renewables but without the subsidies. They also support the extraction of shale gas. The Fianna Fail leader threatened to sack their MEP at the time he left the ALDE group but it appears as if he is still a Fianna Fail member.  So it's uncertain as to where Fianna Fail stand on the issue from a European perspective but they have recently issued a call for a full economic review into wind energy :,36278,en.pdf

Should they end up in power with Fine Gael and Labour, how much will they be forced to compromise on this promise ? Presumably it will end up on the sidelines like Alan Kelly's guidelines ?

RENUA, one of the newest political parties in Ireland are the only party to actually come out against wind energy : 

“Increasingly these main justifications[of wind energy] are falling apart,” it said. “Renua Ireland does not believe the economic case being made by supporters of wind farms and pylons, and throughout Europe wind farm energy is seen now as being a source of dear rather than cheap energy.

Again the compromise question arises here.

Lastly, there are no Irish MEPs aligned with the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) who are mostly against wind energy and the uneconomic renewable energies and includes UKIP. 

Most interestingly, it was Roger Helmer, an Englishman and member of UKIP, who asked a Parliamentary Question in the European Parliament on the EU and Ireland's lack of compliance with the Aarhus Convention :

Wednesday 17 February 2016

2015 was Ireland's coldest year since 2010

Met Eireann have revealed that 2015 was not the hottest year on record for Ireland but actually the coldest since 2010 :

 A few other stations, mainly located in the Midlands and West, reported their lowest annual mean temperatures since 2010 - Met Eireann

As you can see, all stations bar one showed lower temperatures than the Long Term Average (LTA) :

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Trinity engineer raising €10m for nuclear power technology

Interesting technology but as far as Im aware it was known about in the 1950s but not pursued at the time in America. At 150MW capacity, they would be fine replacements for our outdated peat power stations.

Article originally published in the Sunday Independent, written by John Reynolds

A Trinity College engineering graduate, who was named in this year's Forbes Europe Top 30 under-30 list, is raising €10m to develop a nuclear power technology that he and his partners claim could produce electricity more safely. It would also do so more cheaply than a new coal-fired power station or the latest nuclear one that Britain plans to build at a cost of up to €32bn, they say.

Founder of Energy Process Developments Rory O'Sullivan, 29, who has begun talking to a number of prospective Irish investors about the project, has partnered with British Moltex Energy founders environmentalist John Durham and scientist Dr Ian Scott, an entrepreneur and former chief scientist at consumer goods giant Unilever.
Cambridge-educated Dr Scott made a breakthrough in establishing that because of its design and how it works, by containing molten salt nuclear fuel in tubes, rather than hazardously pumping it around pipes, valves and heat exchangers outside a reactor, his stable salt reactor method, which keeps the fuel locked up in closed tubes, is far safer.
It also avoids the requirement for as much highly specialised, expensive and failsafe systems for cooling, containment and safety control, which raise new nuclear costs to levels that leave electricity billpayers and governments on the hook for tens of billions.
"We aim to win a slice of £250m funding the UK government has made available and have also established partners in Asia to develop the technology there. But we need further investment now to ensure we can take the lead internationally. Today's clean power technologies will not reduce global energy poverty at today's costs. Drastic cost reductions are required to implement clean power on a mammoth scale," O'Sullivan said.
Nuclear power is currently illegal here, but he added that the Moltex design could be used here in modular units that each generate about 150MW of power - enough for about 45,000 homes, potentially within the next 10 years.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Tax hikes on petrol on the way ?

But that's good news for us, the consumers who benefit from cheaper oil, so bring it on - David McWillams, Irish Economist, February 2016 [Sunday Business Post].

When the Socialist Portuguese government submitted their budget to the EU last week, they were told they had breached EU rules. They then put new measures together including tax hikes on petrol products which were accepted by the EU. The hike was justified "to counteract the environmental impact of low oil prices resulting from increased consumption".

One can see a mainstream Irish government lapping this one up - what a lovely way to raise taxes by telling people higher taxes will be good for them. Of course, most economists know that petrol and diesel are relatively inelastic products - consumption will not be affected much by changes in price. Instead, during times of low oil prices, consumers find they have more in their pocket to spend on other goods and so it should be. People deserve a break and it's good for local economies. But this will end once the watchful eye of the Government focuses on such "easy pickings". 

This could well be the hidden General Election issue here in Ireland - none of the Parties nor the media are mentioning it, but after water charges and property taxes, one can easily see an Irish government paying for auction type politics (with cuts in income tax and USC being promised by most of the parties) by putting more taxes on low petrol prices. Fiscal space means more green taxes. It's easier than confronting Apple and Google.

It's also worth noting that petrol is an allowable vouched expense for politicians so they won't be impacted by tax hikes on petrol. 

So now you know what to ask candidates when they arrive at your door.  

Meentycat Wind Farm

Meentycat wind farm is the largest wind farm in Ireland at 88.5MW. It is owned by Airtricity and located in Donegal about 20 miles from the sea in a hilly area. So it's very well located to take advantage of Ireland's best wind resource.

The following wind maps confirm that it is in one of the best locations in Europe :

It was built in 2004, with an extension in 2009, and consists of 38 2.3MW Siemens wind turbines. According to data from SEMO, it had a capacity factor of 31% in 2015 i.e. it generated on average 31% of its maximum output over the year. It operated for 88% of the time, i.e. roughly 9 hours in 10.

However, as can be seen from the below charts, the wind farm was generating between 0% and 2% for 18% of the time and 10% or less of it's output for around a third of the time. For just 1 hour in 10, it operated at a capacity factor of 75% and above. 

Capacity Factor
0% - 2%
10% or less
25% or less
75% or more

 Another way of looking at these figures is that for around a third of the time, the wind farm operated at between 26% and 74% of its max output, equivalent to the same amount of time it operated at less than 10% capacity factor. So there is an equal chance that the wind farm will generate mid range amounts of power as it will tiny amounts. There is greater chance (18%) that it will generate none or next to no power as it will very high amounts of power (10.5%).

So we can see that this is wind energy at it's optimum performance. Presumably, results would have been slightly better when it was first installed. Certainly, it's capacity credit was higher then, as there was much less wind farms (capacity credit is it's contribution to generation adequacy and is sometimes referred to the amount of conventional plant that can be decommissioned as a result of the new wind farm without posing a risk to security of supply. Capacity credit tends to decrease with the more wind you add). 

If there is a case for wind farms in Ireland, then it's within that dark blue line only in the map above and should have been restricted to around 1,100MW. The wind industry and government are fond of telling us that "Ireland has the best wind resource in Europe" but actually that only applies to a small portion of the island and is comparative to Scotland and North Denmark.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Public Conference on Ireland's Energy Future


Tuesday 16th February 2016

The Hamlet Hotel 
Johnstown Bridge , Enfield - Starting 7.30 pm sharp - 10.00pm
Pat Swords -Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.   Chartered Environmentalist.
       ‘Ireland’s Wind Energy Programme, Hype and Ideology, Time to get off the Bandwagon'
     David Hughes - Secretary Passive House Association of Ireland
2016 and Beyond...a “NeW” approach to Energy Independence for our next 100 years.

Presentations will be followed by Questions and Answers
Tea, Coffee & Biscuits.

Conference Open To All - Seating From 7.00 pm - email : 

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Energy Minister Bluffers - Pat Rabbitte

Two years ago, Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte justified the building of more wind farms by claiming they would be a hedge against high oil prices. But oil prices have since fallen almost as fast as support for the Labour Party. And the PSO for wind has shot up from € 50 million to € 180 million.

It's the extra wind farms that have kept energy prices high when instead we should all be availing of cheap electricity.

Now the justification for more wind farms is the threat of fines from Big Brother. When that threat is lifted (and we all know it will), another irrelevant one will be thrown out. Every justification will be given but the only one that matters - the benefits outweigh the costs (in this case it looks like they don't).

The Labour Party have bluffed their way into and throughout their term in Government. Now it looks like they will pay the price in the upcoming general election. 

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Are the EU hypocritical when it comes to transport emissions ?

During the recent Paris climate talks, exemptions were given to both aviation and shipping from reducing CO2 emissions. Aviation it seems is necessary for climate change missionaries to travel to climate change conferences and shipping is required to ship in the cheap Chinese and Indian goods that can no longer be made here thanks to EU energy policies.

Recently the Competition wing of the Commission ruled in favour of big car manufacturers Porsche, BMW and Audi where Member States had offered them generous State Aid handouts to attract their manufacturing facilities. Of the four cases, only one related to the manufacturing of electric and hybrid cars - BMW. The rest were related to the manufacture of new models of conventional gas guzzlers.

The Member States involved were Spain, Germany and Hungary.

Similar justifications for the aid were given in all the cases :

  •  The Commission's assessment showed that the aid was necessary for the project to go ahead in Győr (Hungary), as the aid merely compensated the company for extra investment costs incurred by carrying out the project in Győr and not in an alternative location.   
  • The Commission's assessment showed that the aid was necessary for the project to go ahead in Leipzig and that any effects on competition were limited, because the aid merely compensated for the extra costs incurred by carrying out the project in Leipzig and not in the alternative location.

There are two interesting conclusions that I read from these decisions :

  1. Is this an acknowledgement that EU energy policies have forced manufacturers to move to alternative locations and therefore will require from now on some form of State Aid as an incentive not to re-locate ? Are precedents being set here not just for the car industry but all industry ? 
  2. Given that State Aid is no longer allowable for coal mines or indeed coal power stations, how can State Aid for the manufacture of oil consuming vehicles (in the larger engine bracket) be justified if burning fossil fuels are now considered evil ?

Sunday 7 February 2016

Whale strandings not a new phenomonen

There's a strong tendency for people to believe they live in unique or extreme times but whales have always been found stranded along the coast of UK and Ireland :

Article from 1903

January 1985, 30 years ago, was as bad or even worse for whale strandings than January this year :

January 1985

Before fossil fuels, whales were hunted to near extinction, due to the demand for their oil. Fossil fuels helped save the whale. 

Article from 1879

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Who pays for the North South Interconnector and why?

Guest post by Pat Swords. 

Is the North South Interconnector worth the investment, who pays and who benefits ?  

The amount of money we are paying in our electricity bills for grid expansions and the lack of reasons why, is starting to reach epidemic proportions. The recent Energy Green Paper in its Figure 5 shows the breakdown of the domestic electricity rate, in which transmission and distribution, i.e. the grid, amount to some 34% of the domestic electricity price (an additional VAT at 13.5% is then applied).

So we can deduce that nearly a third of what we pay on our final bill is going to fund the grid. As such then, one should be highly concerned, when in 2011 Newspaper articles entitled "Ireland's big hope or just hot air" are published. These summarise the position of the Irish Academy of Engineering with respect to the proposed roll out of the renewable energy programme and supporting grid infrastructure.

As the article highlights:
  • Between now and 2015, billpayers will also pay at least €1.4 billion in grid development and improvement costs that are necessary for the development of more wind farms, according to grid operator Eirgrid.
  • In addition, there is the €500 million cost to billpayers of the East-West interconnector, also needed to facilitate more wind energy, it says.
  • Another aspect of all this, perhaps indicating the true total cost of all of this wind energy, is that the ESB in 2008 announced plans to invest €11 billion in the grid and a further €11 billion in renewables and smart meters by 2020, although ESB sources say this strategy may be revised. 

Therefore, we are looking at potentially some €13 billion to be spent on the grid, both for high voltage (Eirgrid) and medium voltage (ESB), in order to facilitate all of this renewable programme. This is a staggering amount of money. Indeed to put it in its context, if we go back to Figure 5 in the Green paper, some 46% of the domestic rate is the wholesale price and 80% of that is fuel for the power stations. In other words, a third of what you pay in your final bill is fuel for the power stations. Yet it can quite easily be calculated, that if there was no wind energy, Irish thermal power stations could be kept running for a fuel cost amounting to some €1 billion per year. 

If one was to use simple maths and ignore such issues as that some electricity is sold at a lower rate to industry, one gets the simple answer, in that if we didn't progress all this grid expansion to facilitate renewables, we could have free electricity instead for four years. Note: This is not an unreasonable conclusion, there is no such thing as a 'free lunch' and all these billions for investment in renewable infrastructure has to come out of unnecessarily soaring electricity bills.

So let's examine the roll out of the North South Interconnector and particularly what's in it for us the consumer in the Republic of Ireland. Why should we be paying for this 400 kV line running 103 km through the Republic and a further 34 km through N. Ireland? In essence, it doesn't take a genius to figure out, that as more three quarters of the infrastructure lies in the Republic, we are the ones with the biggest cost exposure. As to what this cost exposure actually is can be seen in the European Platform Against Wind Farms (EPAW) submission on the North South Interconnector:

As Section 6.6 of this clarifies; Jenny Pyper, who is the Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator in Northern Ireland, stated to the Oireachtas Committee on the 16th June 2015:

  • I should apologise for the absence of a crucial bullet point which provides the total project cost of the North-South interconnector, including overhead line, land acquisition, substation and other costs. The total project cost is €286 million

  • It is important to understand that, while the security of supply concerns do not directly apply to us - we probably have more comfort in the Republic in terms of the capacity available for generation - there is an argument that we have an excess that cannot flow to Northern Ireland because the second interconnector is not available at the moment, which is imposing costs on consumers. This extra cost, which we think at minimum is about €10 million per annum, is the primary concern from the Republic's point of view.

So let's think this through; the Republic of Ireland doesn't need to import any power from Northern Ireland, as it has a surplus of generation capacity. Jenny Pyper is claiming that the presence of the interconnector would lead to greater efficiencies in thermal power plant generation, which would amount to some €10 million per annum. This is complete peanuts in an all island electricity market, which pays each year some €2.75 billion to generators, to which grid costs, etc.have to be added before the final consumer price is arrived at. Furthermore, it is generally recognised that the economic lifespan of high voltage transmission systems is 45 to 50 years, so the simple payback on this proposed North South Interconnector project would be in the order of half its expected lifespan. In engineering terms this is simply absurd.

So why are we doing this, when clearly the bulk of the economic and environmental costs are to be picked up by the consumers in the Republic of Ireland, who have absolutely no need for this investment? 

It doesn't take long to figure out that all of this investment is for the 'Glory' of even more renewables. As Section 4.1 of the EPAW document shows:

  • The governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland have both set targets of meeting 40% of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020. This is expected to be achieved mainly by significant amount of new wind generation capacity in both jurisdictions. The RIDP project is required to facilitate the connection of wind generation in Donegal in Ireland and in the west and north of Northern Ireland, where the renewable resources are largely located. The additional grid transfer capacity provided by this North South 400 kV interconnection project is essential to allow access to a larger market for the new renewable generation, particularly for Northern Ireland wind generation in times of high wind conditions and low local demand. This project therefore indirectly allows the connection of 600 MW in Northern Ireland, i.e. the equivalent of the additional grid transfer capacity initially provided by the link.

So what does this mean in real terms? Well first of all the power generation situation in N. Ireland is in a complete crises, as nobody will invest in the conventional generation necessary to keep the lights on. This is described in detail in Sections 5.2 and 5.3 of the EPAW document, but in simple terms why would one put hard earned cash into a conventional generation plant there, when the market place is to be turned over to the new renewable generators and the power stations in the Republic of Ireland. The latter to have improved access through the capacity of this new interconnector. The whole thing is actually quite nasty, Government funded renewables and interconnectors are putting conventional plants out of business in N. Ireland and the fact that there are no longer sufficient conventional generators left in N. Ireland is then being used as the justification for those same projects. Yet if those State sponsored schemes weren't there, there would be plenty of companies interested in the N. Ireland power generation market. 

In fact you couldn't make it up, consumers in the Republic of Ireland are now to finance ill-conceived interconnector projects, which would never happen without massive subsidies, while the alternative makes absolute 100% sense. Finance nothing and let N. Ireland have a proper vibrant electricity market, in which its own electricity consumers finance the necessary convention power generation it requires. Not only is this proper economics and provides the security of supply that N. Ireland requires, but it prevents the completely unnecessary scarring of the Irish countryside with over 137 km of massive pylons, associated medium voltage transmission lines and more than 300 additional wind turbines in N. Ireland alone.