Wind power in Ireland

The current grid-connected and operational wind energy capacity on the island of Ireland is 2054.86 megawatts (MW).

At present, there are 176 wind farms operational, in 27 counties on the island of Ireland.

A wind farm is a group of wind turbines located in the same area which are usually interconnected through underground cables. A substation is also located on site.

The electricity produced by the wind turbines is then transferred through underground cables or overhead power lines for connection to the national grid.

A fibre-optic communications cable is also installed in conjunction with the power line to allow remote monitoring of each individual wind turbine on the wind farm.

A modern wind turbine produces electricity 90pc to 95pc of the time, but it generates different amounts depending on wind speed. Over the course of a year, it will generate about 31pc of the theoretical maximum output.

For example, a wind turbine with a rating of 2MW can theoretically generate 2MW of electricity per hour or 48MW in a day. Over a full year, it can potentially generate 17,520MW but in reality, it will only generate about 31pc of that or 5,431MW.

It is estimated that 1MW of wind capacity can provide enough electricity to supply approximately 650 homes. Based on this figure, an installed capacity of 2040.66MW can provide enough electricity to power more 1.3 million homes on the island of Ireland.

The average wind farm will pay back the energy used in its manufacture within three to five months of operation.

A modern wind turbine is designed to operate for more than 20 years and at the end of its working life, the area can be restored at low financial and environmental cost.