The Government has been urged to provide full details on whether the electricity grid can handle energy capacity over the winter, following "deeply concerning" system alerts over the past year.
Labour TD for Cork East, Seán Sherlock, said the Government must outline whether there is a contingency plan in the event of blackouts and brownouts, after obtaining data showing seven system alerts, the Irish Examiner reports.
The system alerts, previously known as amber alerts, took place over the past 12 months, with the most recent on October 28th this year.
In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Sherlock, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said the alerts occurred on December 9th last year, January 6th, April 13th, May 17th, September 6th and 9th, and October 28th.
"EirGrid notified my Department of each of these system alerts on the day they occurred. There have been no system emergencies (previously known as red alerts) on the system in Ireland in the past 12 months or in recent years," Mr Ryan said.
"The system alert on April 13 related to the temporary failure of some of the systems in EirGrid's control centre. This failure occurred during the testing of backup systems and was quickly resolved. The other six system alerts were due to reduced margin between the level of electricity generation and demand," Mr Ryan added.
The ability of the grid to cope with increased demand has been a big talking point in recent months. The data centre industry requires a massive amount of power, raising fears over the national supply.
Senior research fellow in clean energy futures at the UCC-based MaREI centre for energy, climate and marine research, Dr Paul Deane, said the reliability of the power system is a big concern.
"While we expect to see more amber alerts in the upcoming weeks and months, the system should be adequate to meet our needs this winter," he said.
Dr Deane added: "Eirgrid has previously noted in their winter outlook that November this year and March next year will be particularly challenging for the power system in terms of available capacity, and we would expect to see more amber alters in these months during periods of low wind speed generation and low availability of imports of power."
Mr Sherlock said the public needs to know about the security of the energy supply at all times.
"We need to see the full picture of the State's capacity to deliver energy supply this winter. Government must be honest on whether there is a contingency plan in the event of blackouts and brownouts," he added.
EirGrid said that between 2010 and 2019, there were 13 system alerts in Ireland.
"During the previous decade, 2000 to 2009, there were in excess of 500 such alerts, so this is not a new phenomenon," a spokesman said.
"In the short term, EirGrid is closely monitoring the situation and working with conventional generators to ensure that plant performance and availability is maximised."