Ryan ‘increasingly confident’ Ireland will avoid power blackouts this winter

ireland
Ryan ‘Increasingly Confident’ Ireland Will Avoid Power Blackouts This Winter Ryan ‘Increasingly Confident’ Ireland Will Avoid Power Blackouts This Winter
Two amber alerts over shortfalls in power were issued last week by the Single Electricity Market Operator.
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Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said he is “increasingly confident” that Ireland will avoid power blackouts this winter.

The Irish Times reports that the Green Party leader told the Dáil that two modern gas-powered plants should “be back in operation this autumn, and that should see us through this winter period.”

Both plants experienced major technical problems that took almost a year in each case to fix and contributed to power shortage alerts for the country.

Two amber alerts over shortfalls in power were issued last week by the Single Electricity Market Operator (Semo), a joint venture between EirGrid and Northern Ireland grid operator SONI.

The amber alerts indicated to power suppliers that there was expected to be enough energy to meet demand, but possibly not enough in reserve should something go wrong, leaving the country at risk of blackouts.

Older plants

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In the Dáil on Thursday, Sinn Féin spokesman Darren O’Rourke and Fine Gael Cork East TD David Stanton raised concerns about winter outages in the wake of the warnings.

Mr O’Rourke said the prospect of blackouts “is quite incredible”, adding there are particular pressures in his area of Co Meath and Dublin West.

Responding, Mr Ryan said there was increasing demand for power but the main reason for the alerts was that many older plants were not performing as efficiently as a new plant would.

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“Some of that has particularly had to do with regular maintenance this year which has been affected by Covid. In the Covid period they couldn’t bring in outside skilled expertise to do maintenance,” Mr Ryan said.

“Nothing is certain but we are increasingly confident that we shouldn’t have to see blackouts this winter,” he said.

Mr Ryan said high-emission older plants, such as Moneypoint, Tarbert and Edenderry “will play a critical role in the next three to five years in providing the security that is needed but we need to get back-up alternative generation – battery storage, open-cycle gas plants which switch on and off very quickly.”

The Minister added that “they won’t run a lot but will be critical to provide power at those moments when the wind isn’t blowing while we wait for those interconnectors and a more balanced system to be delivered”.

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