Updated: Irish plan to export 5GW of electricity to UK misses 2020 target
A plan to build 5GW of onshore wind farms in Ireland to export electricity exclusively to UK’s power grid will not happen before 2020, after the Irish energy minister announced an agreement with the UK government had not been reached.
It was originally hoped that the Midlands Wind Export Project would start exporting power to the UK grid as early as 2017 ( see EDEM 13 September 2012 ). Capacity was expected to be 1.2GW in 2017.
On Sunday, Pat Rabbitte, Ireland’s energy minister, confirmed that delivery of the project by 2020 “is not now a realistic proposition”.
Rabbitte said in a statement that an agreement with the UK government on the project had yet to be reached because of the “economic, policy and regulatory complexities involved, and the key decisions yet to be taken by the UK”.
However, Rabbitte offered some indication that the project is not dead in the water, saying that “greater trade in energy between Britain and Ireland is inevitable in the post 2020 scenario”.
He added that the Irish government continues to view renewable energy trading as capable of delivering significant economic benefits to Ireland and the UK. A spokesman for the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change added “the UK remains committed to putting in place the frameworks necessary to allow international trading”.
The prospect of the UK losing such a substantial renewable energy source before 2020 could have negative implications in its quest to meet targets set by the EU for renewables generation.
The UK is legally bound to meet 15% of the country’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020 to meet legally-binding targets from the EU. The DECC spokesman say it had a strong pipeline of other renewable projects. Henry Evans
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