Wind energy has saved Ireland about 70 million euros in foreign-energy imports since the beginning of 2016, a six-month period that saw the indigenous renewable energy source meet more than a fifth (22 percent) of Ireland’s entire electricity demand, according to provisional new figures compiled by the Irish Wind Energy Association.
This figure puts Ireland almost on par with other leading EU Member States such as Spain where wind energy produced 23.6 percent of Spain’s power in the six-month period and puts Ireland ahead on a percentage basis of countries such as Germany where wind and solar contributed some 20 percent to their domestic power demand in the first half of 2016.
“While it’s exciting to see wind energy delivering such high levels of electricity generation, it’s critically important that we continue to focus on developing these clean and indigenous energy sources and focus on reducing our dangerously unsustainable 85-percent reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports,” said Brian Dawson, head of communications for IWEA. “Apart from easing our dependency on fossil fuel imports, wind energy is delivering real tangible value to electricity consumers, is promoting significant investment and jobs in our communities, and is helping to protect our environment for future generations.”
“Public interest in wind energy as a clean renewable energy for Ireland is also high,” he said. “We always encourage people with questions about wind energy to visit wind farms for themselves, and this June saw 1,500 people young and old visiting local wind farms, seeing the turbines in action and learning about the benefits of this home-grown Irish energy.”
The peak for the period in terms of wind-energy production was recorded on January 28 when wind-energy output hit 2,132 MW for Ireland, representing almost 60 percent of electricity demand at that time.
In addition, the overall level of wind-energy capacity in Ireland has just reached a new all-time record peak of 2,500 MW, which has the potential to create enough electricity to regularly power more than 1.6 million homes.
Ireland imports 85 percent of its energy, 35 percent above the European average, just behind Malta, Cyprus, and Luxembourg.
A recent national survey showed 70 percent of people support wind energy in Ireland, and this interest in Irish wind energy was further highlighted in June with more than 1,500 people visiting wind farms across Ireland and Northern Ireland in June.
2017 will mark 25 years since the first Irish wind farm started generating electricity. Today there are more than 200 wind farms in Ireland, with the wind-energy sector employing more than 3,400 people nationwide, a figure that is projected to grow to more than 8,000 by 2020.
The Irish Wind Energy Association was established in 1993 and is the national body representing the wind-energy sector in Ireland. IWEA is committed to promoting the use of wind energy in Ireland and beyond as an economically viable and environmentally sound alternative to conventional generation and promotes awareness and understanding of wind power as the primary renewable energy resource.
For more information, go to www.iwea.com.