ESB Networks connected a “record” number of renewable electricity generators to the national grid in 2022, adding enough capacity to power roughly 350,000 homes “or the equivalent of the population of Cork”, the State-owned company has said.
Some 23 large-scale renewable projects were connected this year with a total green energy capacity of 688 megawatts (MW), ESB Networks said.
It includes the 95MW Gillinstown Solar Farm near Duleek, Co Meath, which was powered up this week, adding close to 5,400MW of electricity to the national grid. The project, one of the successful bids in the Government’s first renewable electricity support scheme (RESS) auction in 2020, is a joint venture between Irish company Highfield Energy, German solar company Ib Vogt and UK-based Aura Power.
Some 79MW across four battery storage projects were also connected this year, which will help to stabilise the grid at times of low renewable generation.
Separately, ESB Networks said it was now on track to connect roughly 35,000 homes to the electricity grid by the end of the year, facilitating “the expansion in the use of clean electricity for heating and transport”.
“The connection of almost 700MW of clean energy this year is a significant collective achievement for ESB Networks, the renewables community and for Ireland,” said Nicholas Tarrant, ESB Networks managing director. “It represents a 15 per cent increase in renewable generation year on year and it is testament to ESB Networks’ continued investment and innovation in the development of a safe, resilient and flexible electricity network.
“Ireland is a world leader in the integration of intermittent renewables on its electricity system, with wind comprising almost half of electricity generation for October and November. The Climate Action Plan and ESB’s Net Zero by 2040 strategy commits to an acceleration in renewables connections in the next decade as we seek to deliver on our climate targets as we transition to a greener, brighter future.”