Wholesale electricity prices hit lowest levels this year in July

Wind energy hits new monthly record but consumers will not feel any immediate benefit

Irish wholesale electricity prices slid to their lowest levels so far this year in July as poor weather boosted supplies of wind-generated power.

The average wholesale electricity price slid to €96.24 a megawatt hour (MWh) – the unit in which it is sold – from €117.11 the previous month, one industry lobby group said.

Prices through the month varied from €111.71 MWh on days when supplies came mostly from gas or coal-fired generators to as low as €93.30 when renewable electricity was most readily available, said a report from Wind Energy Ireland.

The lobby group’s monthly energy report, published on Tuesday, shows that wind farms generated 962,556 megawatt-hours of electricity – or 32 per cent of the electricity that Irish people used – in July, a new record for the month and 51 per cent ahead of the power generated in the same month last year.


The wet and windy weather that dominated the month was the key reason behind the higher than usual availability of wind-generated electricity, with Wind Energy Ireland saying wind accounted for as much as two-thirds of electricity generated on July 29th. State agency Met Éireann calculated that last month was the wettest July on record.

Wind has supplied a third of Ireland’s electricity needs over the first seven months of this year as a consequence, said the report.

Wholesale electricity prices vary every hour but have, on average, been falling since the start of the year. However, this makes little difference to homes and businesses, as suppliers buy electricity months ahead of selling it to customers, a practice known as hedging which is designed to cut the risk of volatile prices.

As a result, they paid prices far higher than current wholesale rates for the electricity they are supplying to most customers now.

Justin Moran, Wind Energy Ireland’s director of external affairs, argued that wind farms were helping to protect families and businesses from the worst effects of relying on expensive imported gas.

He pointed out that onshore wind farms would save more carbon emissions this decade than any other technology included in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

“The faster we can build and connect new onshore wind farms on to the electricity system, the more secure we make Ireland’s energy supply, the more money we put back in people’s pockets and the more we cut our carbon emissions,” said Mr Moran.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas