The scope for Ireland to be an exporter of wind energy

Speaking in Dublin today, Pat Rabbitte T.D, Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources highlighted the scope for Ireland to be an exporter of renewable energy of significance.

"Given the scale of our wind resources, in the medium term we could be exporting wind power on a scale that matches the total electricity consumption of the country. "We use 6 to 7 Gigawatts ourselves each year and I believe we could be exporting the same quantum to the UK and beyond in the coming years.

"As the European Union moves to decarbonise its energy systems there will be a real demand in Europe for carbon free electricity. Our coastal location gives us a real advantage in having natural resources of real scale and significance. Alongside moves to join together European energy markets, this will give us access to much bigger electricity markets in years to come. Next month I will be meeting the UK Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, for negotiations on an intergovernmental agreement that will mean that those involved in generation of on and offshore renewable energy in Ireland will have an additional market to serve."

Minister Rabbitte also underlined the imperative to develop wind farm facilities and the bioenergy sector to meet Ireland’s domestic renewables targets for electricity, heat and transport. "By 2020 we aim that 40% of our own electricity consumption will be green. That’s a target that we have agreed with the European Union but it is also a target we should embrace ourselves and aim to surpass if possible. Green energy reduces dependence on fossil fuels, improves security of supply, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions creating environmental benefits while delivering green jobs to the economy, thus contributing to national competitiveness and the jobs and growth agenda.

Wind power in Ireland

1997: 53 MW
1998: 73 MW (+37.8 %)
1999: 73 MW (- %)
2000: 119 MW (+63.1 %)
2001: 125 MW (+5.1 %)
2002: 137 MW (+9.6 %)
2003: 186 MW (+35.8 %)
2004: 339 MW (+82.3 %)
2005: 495 MW (+46.1 %)
2006: 746 MW (+50.8 %)
2007: 805 MW (+8 %)
2008: 1,245 MW (+54.7 %)
2009: 1,260 MW (+1.3 %)
2010: 1,392 MW (+10.5 %)
2011: 1,631 MW (+17.2 %)