During the summer, a consortium of leading European energy companies and institutes, led by EirGrid Group, was awarded over €20 million by the European Union to fund research and innovation into the deployment of renewable energy.
The wide-ranging project, known as EU-SysFlex, is a very public acknowledgement of the ground-breaking work that EirGrid and SONI (the Electricity System Operators of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively) have carried out in this sector over recent years.
EirGrid and SONI engineers have been working to meet the challenges of operating the electricity system while achieving high renewable electricity targets. Running the power system with the current high levels of renewable energy is unprecedented and presents significant challenges for its real-time operation.
In 2016, wind energy accounted for 25% of all electricity consumed on the island of Ireland. That is the average figure – on occasion, it increased to over half of electricity consumption. This is a remarkable achievement by the engineers responsible for running the power system in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
This level of renewable energy is already one of the highest in the world and is expected to rise to 40% by 2020 in order to meet national and European targets.