Ireland faces potential electricity blackouts this winter, expert warns 1 year ago

Ireland faces potential electricity blackouts this winter, expert warns

Supply is struggling to keep up with demand.

An energy engineering expert has warned that Ireland faces an increased likelihood of blackouts this winter after it emerged that plans to import emergency generators have stalled.


EirGrid operates Ireland's electricity grid and said the impact of Covid-19 has meant delays to maintenance and repairs of generators, including two gas powered generators in Dublin and Cork, which account for 15% of conventional generation.

It also stated that other types of traditional generation are being phased out due to EU directives.

"Ireland is experiencing a significant growth in electricity demand," EirGrid said in a statement.

"These factors have the potential to place increased pressure on the supply-demand balance, particularly when demand for electricity is high and renewable generation is low," it added.


Brian O Gallachoir, professor of energy engineering and director of the MaREI research centre for energy, climate and marine research at University College Cork, said the stalling of the plans to import emergency generators and the shift to a zero-carbon power system meant there could be increased blackouts.

"We've seen only last week, the international report on climate change gives a greater impetus to us to really reduce emissions across all of the sectors of the economy and transport, heating, agriculture," he said.

"The key challenge in electricity is doing that and at the same time ensuring that we have sufficient energy to keep the lights on and power things we need to go about our daily lives."

He added that while Ireland has increased the amount of energy produced from renewable sources, there was also an increased demand for electricity from other sources like data centres, electrical vehicles and heat pumps.


He singled out data centres as "very hungry" when it comes to electricity demands.

Main image via Sam Boal/