In recent weeks we’ve seen levels of wind generation in the Irish market reach new highs on a number of occasions. The most recent record was Friday 9 November, when 3,792 MW was being generated from wind farms across the island of Ireland. This record was set just after midday, and exceeded the levels set the previous Friday.
A great achievement for the grid to be able to handle such a level of variable renewable energy, with the SNSP (System non-synchronous penetration) reaching over 60% - not far off the current Eirgrid limit of 65%. Interestingly the new ISEM market took the high wind in its stride, as it was only slightly above forecast. The Day Ahead price for the relevant period was €54, and the Balancing Market absorbed the over generation at prices ranging from €16 MWh to €39 MWh.
And while it was obviously a windy day, it was not extreme weather by any means. The below chart shows consistent steady wind across the whole of the island (red areas represent wind speed around 20m/s).
With EirGrid recently publishing its latest All-Island Generation Capacity Statement that forecasts significant growth in energy demand for the next ten years, and the inherent increase in the renewables required to meet its EU mandated targets by 2020, we can expect (and will need) to see this benchmark increase rapidly in coming months and years. As EirGrid enhances the grid to enable its target of 75% SNSP, the ability of the system to accommodate high renewables will be key in transitioning to a de-carbonised energy market.