Irelandâ€™s Grid Development Strategy Your Grid, Your Tomorrow .
Table of Contents Who are EirGrid – and what do we do?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Ireland’s Grid Development Strategy . . . . . . . . . . 3 Executive Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Chapter 1: Why we Develop the Grid. . . . . . . . . . . 7 How the Electricity System Works. . . . . . . . . . . . 7 How the Electricity System is Changing . . . . . . . 7 Chapter 2: Connecting with Government Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Energy Targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 EU Policy Trends. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Chapter 3: A Cost-Effective Grid. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Staying Competitive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Chapter 4: Planning for the Future. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 New Technology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Technology Available Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 New Technology Ready for Trial Use . . . . . . . . . 18 New Technology at Research and Development Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Chapter 5: Public Engagement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Chapter 6: Our Strategy for Grid Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Factors that Influence our Strategy. . . . . . . . . . 24 Strategy Statements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Consequences of our updated Grid Development Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Major Projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Other Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cost of our updated Grid Development Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
25 26 26 30 31
Chapter 7: Summary and Conclusions. . . . . . . . 33 Overall Assessment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Published January 2017
We have been working with NALA, the National Adult Literacy Agency, to help us to present clearer information to you. This strategy uses NALA’s plain English principles and guidelines to help us communicate as clearly and effectively as possible. We have also included a plain English glossary of specialist terms on page 34.
Who are EirGrid – and what do we do? EirGrid is responsible for a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity – now and in the future. We develop, manage and operate the electricity transmission grid. This brings power from where it is generated to where it is needed throughout Ireland. We use our grid to supply power to industry and businesses that use large amounts of electricity. Our grid also powers the distribution network. This supplies the electricity you use every day in your homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and farms. We develop new electricity infrastructure only when it is needed. EirGrid answers to Government and to regulators. We work for the beneﬁt and safety of every person in Ireland. We follow strict laws and safety standards.
Siobhán Sheils Agricultural Liaison Ofﬁcer
Wayne Brace National Control Centre
Ireland’s Grid Development Strategy In 2008 we published Grid25, our long-term strategy to develop Ireland’s electricity grid. At that time, demand for electricity had grown by an average of 4% a year over the previous decade. Forecasts suggested that this trend would continue. Through Grid25, we aimed to deliver efﬁcient and costeffective development that integrated with the existing grid. We also tried to avoid too many projects in one area, if a single solution was viable. We will always need efﬁcient, effective and integrated solutions. Our strategy now commits to a more transparent assessment of all practical technology options. We review our grid development strategy regularly. Following our ﬁrst major review in 2011, we reduced the cost of Grid25 from €4 bn to €3.2 bn. This was possible due to lower forecasts for electricity demand in the recessionary period, and through the use of new technologies.
In March 2015, we published a ﬁrst draft of our second major review, entitled Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow. That review responded to feedback received from the public over recent years. It was part of our renewed efforts to encourage more participation in our decision-making process. It also reﬂected an updated economic context, and our growing experience of new technologies. We would like to thank those who provided feedback to Your Grid, Your Views, Your Tomorrow during our public consultation. We have published a separate report on this consultation alongside this document. In drafting this, our updated grid development strategy, we took account of this feedback. We also considered the Government’s Energy White Paper, published in December 2015. We were further guided by the Action Plan for Jobs and the IDA’s 2015-2019 strategy, which includes ambitious regional targets.
Our grid development strategy is based on all available information at the time of publication in 2017, and is an informed view of our needs in the coming years. However, we will continue to review it on a regular basis. This is to ensure that our strategy continues to be up to date, and ﬁt for purpose in a changing Ireland. The United Kingdom’s June 2016 referendum on EU membership has introduced new considerations. However, most issues covered by our grid development strategy relate to the Republic of Ireland only, and are unaffected. Regardless of the UK leaving the EU, there will always be many shared beneﬁts of working closely with our nearest neighbours. We aim to maintain a strong relationship between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain on energy matters. This includes the North South Interconnector. This project is needed to improve the security of electricity supply across the island of Ireland. It will reduce costs and ultimately save money for the electricity customer.
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Executive Summary As we examined options for our updated strategy, we faced a key question: How do we balance all considerations? We must ensure that our plans meet Ireland’s electricity needs, but we cannot place too great a burden on communities, or too high a cost on industry and consumers. Furthermore, how much investment do we need to make to ensure the grid can cope with future needs? Taking all those considerations into account, we concluded: We will only build new infrastructure when new infrastructure remains as the best solution after considering all options.
Depending on the circumstances, we will use new and emerging technologies to get more from existing grid infrastructure. In other words, we will do more with the existing grid and make it work harder before we build new transmission infrastructure.
Grid Development We reviewed our projects, and changed our approach where this beneﬁted the public and supported the grid. On the North South Interconnector project, a new 400 kilovolt (kV) alternating current (AC) overhead line is still the most effective and appropriate solution. You can ﬁnd more details on this project from page 26. For Grid Link, we are now proceeding with a related set of smaller projects that we call the Regional Solution.
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This includes the use of technology called ‘series compensation’, which will be its ﬁrst use in Ireland. We describe this in more detail on page 30. For the Grid West project, based on the changes to the expected generation in the area, we are carefully considering alternatives to building a 400 kV overhead line. These alternatives are explained on page 29. When considering grid development, we ﬁrst study the existing grid, and a range of technologies, to check if they can meet the need. Feedback from stakeholders, including landowners and the wider community, then informs and guides how we move forward when developing the grid.
Fintan Slye EirGrid Chief Executive
Economic Beneﬁts Our original grid development strategy, Grid25, delivered signiﬁcant economic beneﬁts. Our updated grid development strategy continues to do so. This was independently assessed in the reports prepared by Indecon Consultants and published in 2013 and 2015. A strong electricity transmission infrastructure has two long-term beneﬁts for the overall economy: • it provides power capacity to support new investment and jobs; and • it ensures competitiveness by having cost-effective power capacity. Our revised strategy provides enough capacity to meet demand forecasts in all regions. However, potential demand for energy from new data centres may need more capacity. These centres are a core part of every high-tech company’s infrastructure, and require a large amount of electricity to power and cool the servers.
Our updated grid development strategy also highlights the connections and mutual requirements that exist between national and European policies. We must achieve a balance between social, environmental and economic factors. These are the key drivers of our strategy. For example, the IDA has been very successful in attracting high-tech foreign direct investment to Ireland. These kinds of business customers require very high levels of electricity. One potential impact of this is the need for extra capacity in Dublin. This is because a signiﬁcant number of these high-tech businesses have chosen to locate there. We expect that the ﬁnal cost of our grid development strategy will be in a range from €2.6 bn to €2.9 bn.
The All-Island Energy Market This publication sets out our view on the major investment projects necessary to meet Ireland’s needs. This strategy relates only to Ireland, but it considers the all-island energy market. In particular, it responds to the urgent need to secure electricity supply in Northern Ireland.
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Close Engagement with Other Agencies We engage closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, and with our regulator, the Commission for Energy Regulation. This ensures that our updated strategy is consistent with the Energy White Paper. It also complies with regulatory guidance, and with wider Government policies on issues such as the economy and the environment.
Supporting Material We are publishing two additional documents as support material to our updated grid development strategy. These publications are two separate documents and provide more detailed information. You can ﬁnd them on our website. The Technical Report provides detailed information on the technical issues that underpin our strategy. The second document is called “EirGrid’s Response to Stakeholders Feedback.” This summarises the feedback and responses to our draft strategy published in 2015. You can ﬁnd both documents on www.eirgrid.com.
Chapter 1: Why we Develop the Grid How the Electricity System Works Electricity is produced by generators across Ireland. Generators may be large or small-scale. They can be wind or solar farms, hydroelectric power plants, gas-ﬁred power plants, coal-ﬁred power plants or peat-ﬁred power plants. Part of our role is to connect large-scale generators directly to the high-voltage transmission grid. We also supply electricity to large industrial customers. This is because they need large amounts of power that only our high-voltage grid can transmit.
Smaller generators, such as one-off wind turbines, usually connect to the distribution network. This is the lowervoltage system run by the ESB Networks that brings electricity to most homes and businesses.
Signiﬁcant growth in demand for electricity may require grid development. Similarly, there may be a need to reinforce the grid when we connect new electricity generators, or if an existing generator closes.
How the Electricity System is Changing
Finally, electricity transmission assets – such as cables, pylons or substations – have a ﬁnite lifespan. In this regard, they are the same as other major infrastructure – such as roads, water or telecommunications. Eventually, they need to be upgraded or refurbished.
The way power moves around the grid changes and evolves over time. When these changes become signiﬁcant, adjustments may be needed to the grid.
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Forecasts of Peak Demand on Electricity Transmission Grid Forecasted 8,500 Demand in 8,000 Megawatts 7,500 7,000 6,500 6,000 5,500 5,000 4,500 4,000 2002
Winter Peak Usage Period Recorded Peak Demand 2008 Forecast
Demand for Electricity We ﬁrst published our grid development strategy in 2008. The demand for electricity that was forecast at that time has changed signiﬁcantly over the last eight years. Demand forecasts have changed due to a number of factors. In the rest of this chapter, we summarise and explain these factors.
Efﬁcient Energy Use There is a relationship between economic growth and electricity use.
2015 Forecast 2016 Forecast
Due to more efﬁcient energy use, this relationship is changing – less energy is now required even though the economy is growing.
This resulted in signiﬁcant variation between demand forecasts in the period from 2008 compared to those from 2015 and 2016.
We base our demand forecasts on data from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). In particular, we use their shortterm and long-term forecasts of economic activity. We update our demand forecasts every year in our All Island Generation Capacity Statement, which is available on our website.
The graph on this page shows the 2008, 2015 and 2016 peak demand forecasts up to 2025.
We recently noted expectations of an increased need for connection of large data centres. This has increased our current forecast for 2025 by 400 MW compared to the 2015 forecast.
Around the world, 2008 saw the most severe recession in decades.
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Since 2008, we have scaled back our peak demand forecast for 2025. The 2016 forecast for 2025 is about 5,500 MW, compared to 8,000 MW that we forecasted in 2008.
Population Increase According to the 2016 census, our population was 4.76 million, up 3.7% from 2011. The Central Statistics Ofﬁce (CSO) projections show that this will grow – up to an average of 1% a year from 2011 to 2026. This would be an increase of almost three quarters of a million (734,000) people in this period. This is a key consideration when planning the development of the transmission system.
Regional Demand Growth Our economy is returning to growth. This means a ﬁt-for-purpose electricity grid is even more critical.
Developing a 21st century transmission system will bring social, economic and environmental beneﬁts for all in Ireland. By investing in a secure transmission grid, we can support a balanced approach to regional development. We can also open the entire country to investment opportunities. Currently, the majority of foreign direct investments are clustered around our larger cities. That’s why developing the grid supports the Government’s drive to create jobs in the regions of Ireland.
A number of data centre operators have contracts to connect large-scale facilities in various parts of the country. There are also other expressions of interest for large-scale connections. These proposals would mean substantial power loads connecting in these regions by 2020. This would be a signiﬁcant increase to the demand for electricity at present, and to forecasted demand. Depending on the projects that come to pass, they may need new transmission solutions. We are working to ensure we can deal with all reasonable requests for this additional demand.
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Band of Possible Wind Capacity Requirements to meet the 2020 Renewable Target Wind 5,000 Generation Capacity in 4,500 Megawatts 4,000 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 2013
Actual Wind Capacity 40% Renewable Target
Changing Generation Patterns The Government has a target of 40% of electricity demand being met by renewable energy by 2020. The contribution of the renewable electricity sector continues to grow strongly. This places Ireland in a strong position to meet the 2020 renewable energy target. A large proportion of this renewable electricity will come from wind power. The graph on this page shows the possible wind capacity required to meet Ireland’s 2020 renewable target. It uses data from our All Island Generation Capacity Statement 2016-2025.
Band of Possible Wind Capacity 2020 Deadline for Renewable Target
We have scaled back peak demand and energy forecasts since 2008. As a result, there will be between 3,800 and 4,100 MW of wind capacity needed to achieve the 40% target. To allow for this and so meet the 2020 target, we must add transmission capacity to the grid.
We are currently processing these applications and making connection offers.
This is an increase in the requirement for wind capacity since the forecast in 2015. This is due to the increase in our forecasts of the overall demand for electricity.
We will continue to work with the CER and ESB Networks to help with ongoing and future connections.
Another renewable energy resource is solar power. ESB Networks and EirGrid have received a signiﬁcant number of applications for connection of solar farms.
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In 2015 and 2016, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) held a public consultation on future connections and access to the grid.
This includes playing our part in supporting the concept of the ‘energy citizen’ introduced in the Energy White Paper.
This idea proposes that citizens and communities will increasingly play a more active role. This could include citizens generating renewable energy and ﬁnding ways to achieve greater energy efﬁciency. We are obliged to offer connections to new generators in line with CER directions and approved processes. We aim to meet our contractual obligations to new generators, but without over-building the grid. We must achieve this balance whilst also meeting national energy policy objectives. We must also work to ensure low costs and increasing Irish competitiveness. Our grid development strategy will help us achieve this.
Conventional Generation Change Scaled back demand forecasts reduce the need for extra capacity from conventional generators such as generators that use natural gas. New conventional generation has located in the south and southeast. The location of these new generators only serves to increase the main power ﬂows from these locations.
Balance with Northern Ireland Historically, Ireland beneﬁted from electricity imports from Northern Ireland. This balanced supply and demand, and guaranteed the availability of electricity.
In recent times, this has changed, with the commissioning of new and more efﬁcient plants in Ireland. This will change further as a result of expected fossil fuel plant closures in Northern Ireland – which will reduce generation capacity there. Because of this, it is likely in the next decade that Northern Ireland will need more generation imports from Ireland at times of high demand. This will be necessary to balance supply and demand, and to guarantee supply. For more details and analysis, please see the All Island Generation Capacity Statement, which is available on our website. The North South Interconnector is a vital project for both Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our two systems need this project to improve the security of electricity supply. It will reduce costs and ultimately save money for the electricity consumer. The project will also provide a local beneﬁt for the people of the north east of Ireland. This project will achieve this by increasing the capacity of the electricity network in the region. This will help to attract inward investment and jobs. The United Kingdom’s June 2016 referendum on EU membership does not diminish the need for this project, nor the beneﬁts that will accrue across the island of Ireland from this project.
Interconnection to Europe The 2015 Energy White Paper supports and promotes further interconnection. As well as investing in the Irish electricity grid, we also need to explore more interconnection to other countries. This is in response to the need to change to a competitive, low-carbon energy system. At the moment, the level of interconnection capacity linking Ireland to other markets is in line with the current EU objective of 10%. The European Commission is now considering 2030 targets. They are guided by the need for all member states to reach at least 15% interconnection by 2030. In 2007, we started work on an interconnector between Ireland and Great Britain. Called the East West Interconnector, this project was delivered on time and in budget. It has been operational since 2012. We are now working with our French counterparts – Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (Rté) to explore the possibility of an Ireland-France interconnector. A decision to proceed will be based on a full evaluation, including cost-beneﬁt analysis. Private developers are also exploring further interconnection between Ireland and Great Britain.
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Chapter 2: Connecting with Government Policy Delivering an efﬁcient transmission grid requires longterm planning. It must also be consistent with wider national social, environmental, economic and energy policies. The Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment reviewed Ireland’s energy policy, and published the Energy White Paper in December 2015. Our strategy takes this updated energy policy into account.
Energy Targets Ireland has a target to increase its share of renewable energy in the electricity sector to 40% by 2020. This is a step towards reducing our dependence on imported energy and fossil fuels. The Energy White Paper reafﬁrms the Government’s existing approach, which is to change to a low-carbon energy future. This change must also support the core policy goals: sustainability, security of supply, and competitiveness. The White Paper restates Ireland’s commitment to our 2020 targets. It outlines a vision and a framework to guide Irish energy policy between now and 2030. It also sets a goal of low and zero carbon energy systems by 2050 and 2100 respectively. Further ambitious renewable energy targets for 2030 and beyond will be set in the near future.
We will also support the concept of the ‘energy citizen’ introduced in the Energy White Paper. This idea proposes a more active role for the public in supporting energy policy. The ‘energy citizen’ might generate renewable energy, or help with greater energy efﬁciency. They could do this by using smart meters and appliances, and by using electric heating systems and vehicles. They could also store energy in their own homes using heating systems or batteries.
Our Work to Meet Energy Targets We need to develop a sustainable energy power system that can meet our renewable energy targets. This requires modernising and strengthening the electricity transmission grid. As well as increasing capacity, we are also investing in operational technology. This includes advanced information and communication systems. These will allow us to operate the grid securely. It will also increase our ability to take electricity generated from renewable sources like wind and solar. As renewable energy varies over time, and not in response to demand, the power ﬂow from these sources needs to be managed more closely. New technology will also empower consumers to have more control over how and when they consume electricity.
This could include smart meters or ‘demand response initiatives’ such as Power off and Save, where consumers are rewarded for using less electricity – for example, at times of peak demand. The White Paper recognises our grid development strategy as the overview of the development of the electricity grid. The White Paper states that developing, maintaining and upgrading the electricity grid is essential. The White Paper also recognises our recent review of strategy, and our efforts to build trust with local communities. We are achieving this by enhancing our consultation and engagement processes.
EU Policy Trends Emerging EU policies aim for smart, low-carbon economies centred on energy efﬁciency. To achieve this, the EU encourages the use of low or zero carbon generation technologies. They also recommend the use of smart grid technologies. To deliver these policies, we must develop Ireland’s electricity grid. We are committed to maintaining a reliable grid. This will provide a high-quality, affordable supply of electricity to all consumers. Our strategy delivers a transmission grid that can support potential economic opportunities. It will also enable continued recovery, and encourage balanced regional development.
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Chapter 3: A Cost-Effective Grid Staying Competitive In managing the overall cost, we will do our part to ensure that Ireland remains competitive. This will help to foster economic growth, attract new investments and support local jobs. Electricity demand in Ireland has closely matched recent economic ups and downs. Following a 7.1% fall in demand between 2008 and 2012, electricity demand then grew again. Between 2013 and 2015 it increased by 4.5%.
This relates to growth of 17.3% in Ireland’s Gross National Product (GNP) between 2013 and 2015. (This GNP data was supplied by the ESRI and the CSO.) The demand for electricity is now expected to grow on average by 2.0% every year until 2025. In summary, the economic downturn reduced electricity demand. However, recent trends now point to steady growth in the economy and in electricity use up to 2025.
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Contributing to the Local Economy The economic beneﬁts of developing grid infrastructure are spread throughout the economy. A modern grid can help reduce energy costs and provide a secure basis for businesses to invest and expand. As Ireland returns to economic growth, it is important to renew and expand the electricity transmission system. This will support job creation, economic development and regional competitiveness.
1 Hour Outage
24 Hour Outage
Source: Indecon Report 2015.
Republic of Ireland
Developing a 21st century grid will deliver real social, economic and environmental beneﬁts for all in Ireland. Investing in a secure transmission grid will also open up large areas of the country for investment.
Economic Cost of an Electricity Disruption for the Entire Economy
The Action Plan for Jobs and IDA’s Regional Development Strategy
In particular, access to the grid is essential to attract the hightech sector, currently clustered around our larger cities. In this way, developing the grid is an important element in supporting the Government’s drive to create jobs in the regions of Ireland.
Ireland has a small, open economy. We are home to over 1,000 international companies covering a wide range of business activities. Ireland is one of the most attractive business locations in the world and draws world-class investments. The IDA has stated that access to a high-quality electricity grid is critical to attracting new investment.
It is important to highlight the costs we avoid by investing in the transmission system. The table on this page shows the economic cost of an electricity disruption for the whole economy.
They also state that a number of inward-investment sectors need a high-quality power supply. These include information and communications technology (ICT) and high-tech manufacturing companies.
This is supported by the Indecon Report, which was published as an appendix to our draft strategy document in March 2015. Their analysis was reﬂected in that draft strategy and it is reﬂected in this updated strategy also. The second progress report on the Government’s 2012 Action Plan for Jobs also comments on the issue of the need for a high-quality electricity grid. It emphasised the importance of access to a secure and affordable supply of electricity for new and future investment. The importance of energy costs to Ireland’s competitiveness was further emphasised in the Government’s 2015 and 2016 Action Plan for Jobs.
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The EirGrid Business in the Community team working with Margaret Aylward Community College in Dublin.
Chapter 4: Planning for the Future New Technology Technology and innovation are at the core of our strategy and the Government’s energy policy. This is reﬂected in the 2015 Energy White Paper. We continually review technological developments to assess their potential. New transmission technologies can offer a number of advantages. These include: • reduced capital and operational costs; • reduced social and environmental impacts; and • improved system reliability.
We will always balance the potential advantages of new technologies with the need to ensure a reliable, secure electricity supply. Using new technologies and ideas to give value to the consumer is one of our core values. We focus on: • building the most acceptable form of the network; • exploring ways of getting the best out of the existing network; and • facilitating the connection and operation of new renewable technologies.
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We place new technologies into three broad categories. These are: • technologies at the Research and Development stage; • those at trial use stage, and • those that are ready to use now. We are assisting industry to ﬁnd, develop and trial new technologies, new products and new services.
New Technology at Research and Development Stage Complex DC Networks New Voltage Uprate strategies
New Technology Ready for Trial Use Power Management Technologies Voltage Uprating 2nd Generation HTLS New Tower Designs
To help plan for the future of the grid, we have developed an initiative to put more renewable energy on the grid. We call this “Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System” (DS3). You can ﬁnd out more about this initiative on our website.
AC Underground Cable Technology
Technology Available Now
However, the performance of underground cables continues to improve. There is also growing international expertise on integrating greater amounts of underground cables into a transmission system.
High-Temperature LowSag (HTLS) overhead line conductors We introduced HTLS technology to the Irish transmission system in 2011. These higher capacity overhead power line conductors operate at higher temperatures and have less sagging on the line. This ensures we can maintain critical clearances from trees and other features. Both EirGrid and ESB Networks have successfully used these ﬁrst generation HTLS conductors. Since their introduction, they have achieved an increase in capacity of about 60%. This has been delivered on nearly 600 km of our existing 110 and 220 kV overhead lines.
Underground cable technology has been used in Ireland for many decades. Typically, due to the poorer performance of underground AC cables, other options were more effective.
Our most recent analysis has identiﬁed that Ireland is at greater risk of problems arising through the use of AC underground cables. This is due to our smaller size compared to other networks. We have concluded that a number of techniques exist which could reduce – but not avoid – these problems.
Technology Available Now HTLS AC Underground Cables AC & DC Transmission Series Compensation Dynamic Line Rating Demand Side Management
Using computer simulation, we examined the possibility of using longer lengths of underground AC cable on the Irish transmission network. For 220 kV cable, we found that the maximum feasible length is up to 30 km – depending on the speciﬁc situation. For 400 kV cable, the comparable length is much shorter – about 5 to 10 km. As before, this depends on the speciﬁc situation.
AC and DC Transmission AC overhead transmission lines have been in operation for many years. They represent a highly efﬁcient and reliable means of transmitting electricity. They account for most of the transmission infrastructure in the world today. In Europe, about 98% of transmission circuits are overhead AC lines. However, alternatives are possible when we transfer power from point to point over long distances. In this context, it may be cost-effective and technically acceptable to use High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) instead.
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HVDC is a mature technology that could be included in the Irish transmission system. One advantage of HVDC is that a full circuit can be placed underground. On our larger projects, we always consider using this technology. We have included this technology in a number of recent project evaluations. In 2012, we developed a HVDC interconnection between Ireland and Wales.
Series Compensation Series compensation is a technology that boosts ﬂows on very long transmission lines. This technology has been used in some parts of the world – such as Russia and the US – for several years. It has traditionally not been used on smaller systems such as some of those found in Europe. There have been recent advances in this technology and its control systems. This allows for greater ﬂexibility and more beneﬁts when using series compensation.
Dynamic Line Rating Temperature, wind speed, wind direction and other factors affect the capacity of an overhead line. With dynamic line rating, we install devices to monitor these conditions. This allows higher power ﬂows when conditions allow. We have trialled Dynamic Line Rating on several lines. We will continue to investigate and evaluate to see if using it more would help in certain areas.
Demand Side Management and Response Demand Side Management and Response has been used in Ireland for many years, primarily at the larger industrial level. It works when customers reduce their electricity consumption on request. This helps us to operate the grid more securely. In the future it is expected that residential customers will also take part in Demand Side Management and Response, through initiatives such as the Power Off and Save programme. This is expected to help us to maximise the use of the existing grid and potentially delay or avoid investment in the grid.
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New Technology Ready for Trial Use Power Management Technologies Power management technologies are being used increasingly in recent years. These technologies make better use of existing grid infrastructure. We are currently trialling new technology known as ‘Power Line Guardian’. This allows us to divert power ﬂows from heavily loaded overhead lines or cables to lines with lighter loads. By doing this, we can use the existing grid more effectively. The Router is another new technology that builds on advances made with the Power Line Guardian. It can change the ﬂow of power on any line in a positive or negative way, which makes them more ﬂexible and easier to adjust. We started a trial of the Router technology in 2016.
Voltage Uprating It is possible to increase the capacity of a line by uprating – increasing – its operating voltage. However, this generally requires considerable modiﬁcations.
These include structural changes to substations and a complete rebuild of the overhead line. In many cases, the length of time the line must remain out of service makes this process unsuitable. We are carrying out research ourselves, and supporting other research into new voltage uprating technologies that need fewer structural changes. This would make the uprating quicker to complete and would lower the overall cost. This technology may become available and be economically viable before 2025.
Second Generation High Temperature Low Sag (HTLS) overhead line conductors New HTLS conductors that could potentially double the capacity of lines are undergoing ďŹ eld trials. If the trials are successful, these new conductors may be an option to help make better use of existing lines. However, their application is likely to be restricted to voltage levels greater than 110 kV.
New Overhead Line Structures and New Pylon Designs We are actively considering new pylon designs and other ways to minimise the visual impact on the landscape. Also, we will take the National Landscape Strategy into account.
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New Technology at Research and Development Stage For details of these technologies, see the Technical Report. This is a separate document published alongside this report, and is available on our website.
Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios The majority of grid development projects are driven by changes in how the grid is used. To plan new grid development projects, we ﬁrst have to understand what the future usage of the grid may look like. To do this, we think about changes in the way people and businesses use electricity and changes in the way in which electricity is produced. We ask ourselves: “What factors will drive these changes and how will these changes play out over time?” For example, we know that in response to a global commitment to tackle climate change, the energy industry is moving towards a low carbon energy future. This will lead to changes in the type, size and location of power stations connecting to the grid.
It may also lead to more community-based power and heating systems being built which would mean greater efﬁciency in how electricity is used in the home and in business.
Therefore, when we create our scenarios, we will ask key policy makers and industry experts how they see things changing over time. We will then publish our scenarios and invite comments from everyone.
It is important that we look at all the factors that inﬂuence changes in the usage of the grid in the future. Government and EU policy are key inﬂuences but social trends, changes in technology, changes in the economy, changes in agricultural and industrial development all have a role to play.
The scenarios will be reviewed every two years in this way and any other new information available to us on trends, changes in the industry, and other relevant factors will be included. This twoyear cycle of ‘review and renew’ will be ongoing.
Over the past ten years, we have learned that the level of uncertainty over the future usage of the grid is increasing. To cater for this, we are changing how we plan the grid. Our new approach involves developing a range of energy scenarios (possible situations or events that impact on energy). We will test whether the grid of today can support these scenarios or if further development of the grid is required. These energy scenarios will reinforce our grid development plans. It is vital that we gather a wider range of stakeholder opinions and views early on in the scenario development process.
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We will use these scenarios throughout our planning analysis to assess the future needs of the electricity system. We will also use them to test the practicality and merits of network reinforcement options, and propose solutions for any problems we uncover. We already use a version of this approach for individual projects. We ask various ‘what if’ questions when we are looking for a speciﬁc development solution. This tests robustness, durability and technical performance. This ensures we choose the most appropriate solution.
John Boylan, Agricultural Liaison Ofﬁcer, meets members of the public in Navan.
Chapter 5: Public Engagement In December 2014 we published Reviewing and Improving Our Consultation Process. This review included independent reports from SLR Consulting and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In this review, we acknowledged that we needed to change how we engage with communities, businesses and Government. This review showed a new approach. It concluded that we must meet the needs of stakeholders if we are to deliver a grid that grows with Ireland’s economic development. The review contained 12 commitments aimed at achieving a more communityfocused approach to grid development.
We are making signiﬁcant progress in meeting these commitments. As a result of that review, we have developed a new approach to engagement. This clearly and transparently outlines the steps we take when developing the grid, and how everyone can have their say. This new approach to developing projects replaces the previous Project Development Roadmap. We are committed to engaging as widely as we can to provide clear information on the work that we are doing.
We have also promised to explain how the public can provide input to inﬂuence those decisions. We will also locate more of our staff around the country to support our consultation process. We have recruited community and agricultural liaison ofﬁcers in several regions. Our liaison ofﬁcers will facilitate better communication with local communities and interest groups. They will also develop ongoing relationships with communities in key areas.
Most importantly, we are committed to explaining more clearly why we make certain decisions when developing the grid.
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Consultation Recommendations in the Energy White Paper The Energy White Paper highlights the need for improved community engagement in policy making and planning. This further supports the need to build public acceptance when designing and implementing future energy policy. We note that the White Paper recognises our efforts to build trust with local communities and stakeholders. The Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment has said it will establish a National Energy Forum to achieve and maintain agreement on policy matters. We look forward to working with, and contributing to, this forum. In line with the Aarhus Convention, we encourage the public to take part early on in our decision-making. We have ensured, and will continue to ensure, that we integrate the principles of the Aarhus Convention into our processes. This will be done through public consultation and gathering of feedback throughout the grid development process. Public consultation also forms part of any application we submit for planning consent on our projects.
Protecting our Environment An essential part of our work is to understand how developing the transmission system might affect the environment. Consideration of the environment is central to how we work.
This applies whether we are looking at a review of our overall grid strategy, or the progress of a particular project. We ensure that we comply with all national and EU guidelines. In 2012, we published a Strategic Environmental Assessment as part of our work in preparing the Grid25 Implementation Plan. The results of this assessment are available on www.eirgrid.com. At the time of publication of this strategy we are currently drafting the next Implementation Plan and its Strategic Environmental Assessment. Our grid development strategy will provide the foundation for these two documents. These documents should be completed, and adopted in 2017. At consultations on a variety of projects, concerns were consistently expressed about the impact of proposed projects on key sectors. These were agriculture, equine, tourism and local heritage.
In some places, and in many people’s opinion, electricity transmission lines have a negative visual impact on the landscape. When we plan routes for new lines, we consider many factors. These include the need to protect the interests of individuals, households, businesses and communities. We aim to create as little disturbance as possible, but it’s difﬁcult to avoid private, business or community property. In 2012, the Government issued a policy statement on this issue. It recommended that we should provide a direct beneﬁt to surrounding communities when we build new transmission infrastructure. In response, we have created two funds: the Community Fund and Proximity Payment. These funds provide a direct beneﬁt to those individuals and communities who are closest to new transmission infrastructure.
We promised to review these concerns and we published reports responding to them in 2015. We also published an analysis of high-voltage overhead transmission lines. This analysis considered how these lines affect property values and a number of environmental topics. All these reports are available on our website.
The Community Fund recognises the importance of the local communities who support our work. Under this initiative, we create a fund in proportion to the scale of the project.
Grants are then distributed from the fund when a project is complete and goes live.
When we develop or expand our grid, this work may affect communities where we build new transmission lines.
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We calculate the size of the fund based on the length and voltage of the new overhead transmission line, or on the size of a new rural station.
Gráinne Duffy, Community Liaison Ofﬁcer. Here are the rates we use when creating a Community Fund for a new project: • 110 kV: €15,000 per km • 220 kV: €30,000 per km • 400 kV: €40,000 per km For new rural transmission stations, we create a fund that is equivalent to 1 km of new overhead line, depending on the voltage of the station. For example, if the substation voltage is 110 kV, we create a fund of €15,000.
Proximity Payments We accept that electricity transmission lines can have a visual impact on nearby residents. In response, we introduced Proximity Payments. We make these payments to the owners of occupied residential properties within 200 m from the centreline of most new lines. Homes in a rural location within 200 m of a new outdoor transmission station are also eligible.
We make Proximity Payments as a goodwill gesture on a onceoff basis. We base Proximity Payments on the voltage of the transmission line, and the distance to the line.
We design and operate the transmission network to the highest relevant safety standards. We comply with the most up-to-date international guidelines.
We use a sliding scale where the building is located between 50 m and 200 m from the centreline of a new line.
We have published an information booklet on electric and magnetic ﬁelds (EMF), and an overview of scientiﬁc research on EMF. These are available at www.eirgrid.com.
We calculate this distance from the centre of the line to the nearest point of an occupied residential building. The maximum Proximity Payment is €30,000 for an occupied residential building located 50 m from the centre line of a 400 kV project. The lowest Proximity Payment is €2,000 for an occupied residential building located 200 m from the centre line of an 110 kV pylon. The payment does not apply to wooden poles.
Health & Safety The protection of the health, safety and welfare of our staff and the general public is a core company value.
In June 2016, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government published an expert review of public health and EMF. This report, called Electromagnetic Fields in an Irish Context, is available on the department’s website. This review was independently written by the Netherlandsbased National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. We will continue to review engineering and scientiﬁc research. We will also provide information to the general public and our staff.
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Chapter 6: Our Strategy for Grid Development In this chapter we outline our strategy for upgrading the transmission network. These proposals reﬂect the evolving national, economic, environmental and social context, detailed in previous chapters. We outline our updated assumptions for the overall strategy. We then describe how these assumptions could affect current projects.
Factors that Inﬂuence our Strategy Three main factors have inﬂuenced our grid development strategy. These are: • feedback from our consultation process on major projects; • advances in technology; and • changes in the external economic environment. These factors helped inform our three strategy statements, which we describe on the next page. Tarbert Power Station, Co. Kerry
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Strategy Statements Strategy Statement 1
Strategy Statement 2
Inclusive consultation with local communities and stakeholders will be central to our approach.
We will consider We will optimise all practical the existing grid technology options. to minimise the need for new In recent consultations, we were asked to carry infrastructure. out a comprehensive
We acknowledge the sensitivities associated with major transmission infrastructure development.
We have always considered underground technology during initial project research and technical analysis. We are committed to engaging with the public before we identify a preferred technology. This consultation will explain the transmission technology options, and then seek feedback from stakeholders.
In response to feedback, we carried out thorough internal and external reviews of our consultation process. The task of reviewing and improving the consultation process is now complete. We have developed a new approach to engagement when developing the grid. Our new approach replaces the previous Roadmap. We are committed to continually improving public participation and community engagement as part of this process.
This will help us to determine the best transmission technology for future projects. We are committed to looking for alternative options that may avoid or reduce the need for new overhead lines.
Strategy Statement 3
We will continue to maximise the use of the existing electricity grid. Our goal will be to avoid constructing new lines or cables where we can. We will achieve this by increasing the capacity of existing infrastructure, or by using new technologies. This strategy lowers costs and ensures that there will be potentially less impact on the environment and on local communities.
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Consequences of our updated Grid Development Strategy We want to provide transparency and give a clear understanding of the consequences of this updated strategy. To achieve that, this section summarises how our strategy will affect each of our major projects and some other notable projects. Further details on all of our projects are available in the Transmission Development Plan available at www.eirgrid.com.
Major Projects North South Interconnector Background EirGrid and the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) are proposing a new interconnector. If completed, this would provide a high-capacity connection between the electricity networks of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The proposed interconnector is a 400 kV overhead line to link a substation in Woodland, County Meath with a planned substation in Turleenan, County Tyrone. It would provide a second high-capacity electricity transmission line between the two jurisdictions. The Energy White Paper places great value on Ireland’s relationship with Northern Ireland. In particular, it emphasises our close co-operation on a range of energy matters including this proposal. It also recognises the beneﬁts of the proposed interconnector.
Why are we Proposing this Project? At the moment, transmission capacity between Ireland and Northern Ireland is not sufﬁcient. Due to a lack of capacity, we must limit power ﬂows across the border to prevent stress on the grid. The North South Interconnector would deliver a more secure and reliable electricity supply – throughout the island of Ireland. It would bring about major cost savings and address signiﬁcant issues around the security of electricity supply. This is particularly the case in Northern Ireland. A key beneﬁt is that it would remove bottlenecks between the two systems. This would enable the two systems to work together as if they were a single network. This would beneﬁt residents and businesses on both sides of the border. Other beneﬁts would include cost savings for consumers, as larger electricity systems operate more efﬁciently than smaller ones. With the North South Interconnector in place, we estimate it would create savings of €20 m each year up to 2020. These savings would rise to €40 m – €60 m a year by 2030. The North South Interconnector would also allow for greater connection of renewable generation. This would help Ireland achieve its renewable energy targets.
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Has EirGrid Evaluated an Underground Option for the Project? Yes. There have been many studies of underground options for this project, both by EirGrid and by independent experts. In July 2014, a Governmentappointed Independent Expert Panel (IEP) gave its opinion on this topic. The IEP considered whether or not we had adequately examined an underground option for this project. They compared the work on this project with their terms of reference for our Grid West and Grid Link projects. They found that, in all material aspects, the studies and work we undertook on the interconnector project were comparable with the methodologies being used on the Grid West and Grid Link projects.
What has Happened Recently? The project was designated a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission in October 2013. It was reafﬁrmed as a PCI in November 2015. Projects of Common Interest are energy infrastructure priority projects deemed by the European Commission to be of strategic value and importance to more than one country. An Bord Pleanála (ABP) is the designated authority for PCIs in Ireland.
Boyne Valley Bridge, Co. Meath Between June 2014 and April 2015, we engaged with the PCI unit of ABP in a pre-application process. When that was complete, we formally submitted the planning application ďŹ le to ABP in June 2015. In September 2015, ABP asked us to respond to submissions made by the public in respect of the planning application. We responded to those public submissions in October 2015.
In March 2016, the North South Interconnector oral hearing started in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. This is a process which allows further discussion of the planning application before an independent planning inspector. The oral hearing ended in May 2016. In December 2016 ABP granted planning approval for the part of the proposed interconnector in Ireland.
What is Happening Now? There is a separate and ongoing planning process in Northern Ireland. Most recently, the Planning Appeals Commission held a public inquiry at the end of June 2016. This related to legal and procedural issues for the planning application. The Planning Appeals Commission is due to advance to the main phase of a public hearing in February 2017.
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Grid West Background There have been many requests for connections from generators in the area around the existing Bellacorick 110 kV substation in north Mayo. In 2008 some 647 MW of renewable generation projects were approved by the CER to seek a connection. In response, we assessed the network capability in north Mayo. We found that the existing 110 kV network, even if it were upgraded, could not handle this amount of additional generation. Therefore, we identiﬁed the need to add another transmission circuit. We included plans to develop a solution in our Grid25 Strategy.
What was Originally Proposed? To meet these connection needs, we originally looked at a number of factors including demand forecasts, available technology, cost, and environmental considerations. We concluded that the best option to meet the needs of the project was a 400 kV High-Voltage Alternating Current overhead line.
Are there Other Solutions? Yes. The most appropriate solution for any project is determined by the details of that project – its location, scale and purpose. In 2011, we considered these factors for Grid West. This took into account cost-effectiveness, long-term forecasts, and the proven, reliable transmission technologies. In 2014, we agreed with feedback from the public that we had ruled out underground alternatives too soon in the process. We then reassessed underground cables to see if they could meet the needs of the project. We considered how they performed in environmental, economic and technical terms. We also investigated if the generation companies’ needs could be met using a lower voltage solution. Based on this review, we found that there are three possible solutions: • A High Voltage Direct Current underground cable. This is a fully underground solution. Present value project cost: €475 m • A 400 kV High Voltage Alternating Current overhead line with 8 km of undergrounding. Present value project cost: €220 m
• A 220 kV High Voltage Alternating Current overhead line with partial use of underground cable. The length of this cable would be the maximum possible extent – up to 30 km. Present value project cost: €205 - 250 m, depending on length of underground sections. We presented an analysis of these three options to the Government-appointed Independent Expert Panel (IEP). The panel published its opinion that the report was complete and the options were comparable. Subsequently, we published the report in July 2015.
Is the Grid West Project Still Needed? There is a sufﬁcient level of committed generation in the area to drive a new circuit. Depending on the ﬁnal volume of generation, the solution may be a more local reinforcement of the grid. We are currently investigating how we might do this. If the need for Grid West is fully conﬁrmed, we will consult on the information contained in the IEP report. We will do this before selecting a preferred technology type.
Wind turbine installation in rural Ireland.
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Regional Solution (Formerly Grid Link) The Grid Link project has been replaced by an initiative which we call the Regional Solution. We developed this solution as part of the review of the need for the Grid Link project. The review took into account changing demand forecasts, a slower rate of growth, upgrade works on existing lines and advances in technology. The Regional Solution was also informed by the analysis carried out for the IEP and the strategy review. The IEP Grid Link report is available at www.eirgrid.com. The Regional Solution is made up of a number of independent projects. These are: • Series Compensation (see Glossary) on the existing 400 kV overhead lines that cross the country from Moneypoint in County Clare to Dunstown in County Kildare and Woodland in County Meath. The series compensation devices are planned for: – Moneypoint; – Oldstreet in County Galway; and – Dunstown 400 kV stations.
• A new underwater cable, across the Shannon estuary. This will run from Moneypoint on the northern bank of the estuary to Kilpaddoge, a new station on the southern bank of the estuary. • Uprating the Great Island to Wexford and Great Island to Kilkenny 110 kV circuits. • Uprating of the busbar (conductors) at Wexford 110 kV station. These projects are required to meet the updated needs identiﬁed in the reviews of the Grid Link project. The main reasons for the Regional Solution include:
Security of Supply Despite the recent drop in electricity demand, there remains a risk to the security of supply in the south and east of the country. This is largely caused by heavy power ﬂows through the network.
Integrating Renewable Energy Ireland has a target of providing 40% of our electricity from renewables by 2020. To achieve this, signiﬁcant levels of renewable generation will connect in the south and south-west of the country. The transmission system must be able to cope with the ﬂow of this power from where it is generated to where it is needed.
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Other Projects Moneypoint - North Kerry project This project will facilitate the connection of wind generation in the southwest. The project was initially planned as a new 400 kV circuit, part overhead and part under water. This was to connect Moneypoint generation station in Co. Clare to a new 220 kV substation in North Kerry. However, after a cost-beneﬁt analysis on this project, it is now a 220 kV underground cable solution using a new type of high-capacity cable for the full length of the circuit.
Reinforcement of the Greater Dublin Area This project is at the earliest point of the development cycle. The project will increase the strength of the link between two 400 kV stations at Dunstown and Woodland. We are examining the full range of practical technologies that might suit for this project, including maximising existing infrastructure.
The North West To increase capacity for renewable generation, we need to strengthen the grid in the north west of Ireland and the west of Northern Ireland.
Regional Breakdown of Investment For detail on these regions, please consult the supporting Technical Report.
Private developers are also exploring interconnection to Great Britain.
€0.2 billi on
lion 6 bil €0.
A decision to proceed will be based on a full technical and economic evaluation, including cost-beneﬁt analysis, and approval to proceed by EirGrid’s shareholders.
€2.6 bn – €2.9 bn
Dublin 7% Mid-East 14%
0. 4b illio n
The cost of the Celtic Interconnector is not included in our total estimate cost, as a decision has not yet been made on whether or not to move forward to construction. This decision is due to be made in 2020/21.
llion €0.2 bi
This interconnector would assure Ireland’s direct access to the EU Single Energy Market. It would also strengthen competition and security of supply in Ireland and create opportunities to import and export electricity.
– .4 €0
Future Interconnection to Europe Along with our French counterpart, Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (Rté), we are currently assessing the beneﬁts of an interconnector with France.
€0.3 b illio n
ion bill 5 . €0
€0.1 bill ion
bi llio n
The solutions, technology and timing of this work are currently being reviewed. We will, in time, consult with relevant stakeholders on the needs, and the range of possible solutions that address these needs.
.6 €0 – 5 €0.
The ﬁnal cost will vary Breakdown Cost ofRegional our updated depending on the circumstances of Investment Grid Development and technologies of each project. We anticipate that the Strategy The original estimated cost of Grid25 was €4 bn. In 2011, the overall scale of the Grid25 Strategy was revised down to €3.2 bn. This was because of falling forecasts for future demand, and the availability of new technologies.
ﬁnal cost will be in a range from €2.6 bn to €2.9 bn. This now includes the cost of the southern portion of the North South Interconnector, which was not included in Grid25 estimates. The diagram on this page shows the planned level of grid investment in eight regions across Ireland. These are consistent with similar geographic designations used by other Government bodies.
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Chapter 7: Summary and Conclusions Ireland needs a long-term strategy to develop the electricity grid in a safe and secure way. This is necessary for the following reasons: • to meet projected demand levels; • to meet Government policy objectives; and • to ensure a long-term, sustainable and competitive energy future for Ireland. We conducted a review of the 2008 Strategy based on the long-term electricity needs of our economy and of Irish society.
Overall Assessment Our updated grid development strategy provides a comprehensive development strategy for our electricity infrastructure. The main ﬁndings and impacts that inform this strategy are:
• We are committed to enhancing public participation and community engagement. • We will consider all practical technology options. • Developments in technology now allow us to achieve improved performance from existing transmission infrastructure. • The economic downturn has resulted in reduced demand forecasts for 2025 and beyond. However, the need for continuing development of our infrastructure remains. • We will continue to work with the Commission for Energy Regulation and ESB Networks for ongoing and future connections. This includes the work needed to realise the concept of the ‘energy citizen’. (See page 35 for a deﬁnition of this term in the Glossary.)
• Certain grid assets are now reaching their end of life. This means maintenance or replacements are necessary. More than 60% of transmission lines on our system are over 35 years old. • We have revised down the overall estimated costs for our updated grid development strategy. Costs will fall within the range €2.6 to €2.9 bn. • Grid investment will have a widespread positive impact on the Irish economy and can help reduce overall energy costs in the market. • Investing in a modern transmission grid will put Ireland in a strong position to continue to attract foreign investment. • Our grid development strategy is consistent with the Government’s Energy White Paper.
Undersea cable being prepared for the East West Interconnector.
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Glossary Aarhus Convention
DC Direct Current
An international agreement that grants three core rights to the public for projects that affect the environment. • Public access to information • Public participation in decision making • Public access to justice, or the right to review procedures and challenge decisions.
The overhead line or underground cable linking two substations. For example, the Moneypoint – Dunstown 400 kV circuit.
Direct Current does not alternate when it sends power (as a wave), but is a constant ﬂow of power. Direct current is the type of power generally supplied by batteries and used by power electronics in our home appliances. It is particularly suited for undersea cable interconnectors.
AC Alternating Current A type of electric power used on transmission systems around the world, including Ireland. It is the form in which electricity is delivered to homes and businesses.
An Bord Pleanála (ABP) Ireland’s independent national planning authority.
Assets The substation buildings and electricity transmission lines that form the transmission network. They are operated by EirGrid and owned by the ESB.
Capacity The amount of electricity that can be safely transferred on the system or a circuit.
CER (‘the regulator’) The Commission for Energy Regulation.
Conductors An object or material that can transfer electricity. For example some metal wires are good conductors of electricity. Conductors are found in underground power cables and overhead lines.
Conventional generation The generation of electricity using fossil fuels, such as natural gas, coal or peat.
CSO Central Statistics Ofﬁce is the national statistical ofﬁce of Ireland.
Data centre A large group of networked computer servers used for remote storage of information.
Demand The amount of electrical power that is drawn from the network by consumers. This may be talked about in terms of ‘peak demand’, which is the maximum amount of power drawn throughout a given period.
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Distribution Network This is the lower voltage network, owned by ESB and operated in Ireland by ESB Networks. It delivers power from the transmission network to households and businesses.
DS3 ‘Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System’ is an EirGrid initiative designed to ensure the secure operation of the grid while achieving renewable energy targets.
EMF Electric and magnetic ﬁelds. These occur naturally – the earth itself has natural electric and magnetic ﬁelds – or from man-made sources. These ﬁelds can induce electrical currents in materials capable of conducting electricity.
Energy Citizen A term introduced in the Energy White Paper of December 2015. The intention is for the public to play a more active part to support Government energy policy. This could include households generating renewable energy, or helping to achieve greater energy efﬁciency.
ESB Electricity Supply Board is an electricity company in the Republic of Ireland. It is a commercial semi-state company.
ESRI Economic and Social Research Institute is Ireland’s independent source of evidence for policy. It produces research which can help people understand the ongoing economic and social changes.
Generation Adequacy Report (GAR) EirGrid used to produce an annual Generation Adequacy Report. The ﬁnal Generation Adequacy Report was GAR 2010-2016. This was replaced by the All Island Generation Capacity Statement.
Generation Capacity Statement This replaces the Generation Adequacy Report. The ﬁrst All Island Generation Capacity Statement covers the period 2011-2020.
Generator A facility that produces electricity. Power can be generated from various sources, for example, coalﬁred power plants, gas-ﬁred power plants and wind farms.
Generation Dispatch The amount of electricity being produced for the grid by a number of generators at any one time. This will vary as demand for electricity and the amount of renewable energy on the system changes.
Great Britain and UK Great Britain is the geographic term for the island that contains England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom is a shortened version of “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, which is the ofﬁcial name of that country.
Grid See Transmission Network.
Grid25 EirGrid’s original national strategy for the development of the transmission grid, published in 2008.
HTLS conductors High-Temperate, Low-Sag conductors were ﬁrst introduced to the Irish transmission system in 2011. They carry substantially more electricity than the conductors normally used in Ireland. They sag less than a standard overhead line. Conductor sag is the distance between the highest and lowest point on an overhead line.
IDA Industrial Development Agency (Ireland) is responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to Ireland.
Kilovolt (kV) Operating voltage of electricity transmission equipment. One kilovolt is equal to one thousand volts. The highest voltage on the Irish transmission system is 400 kV.
Megawatt (MW) A megawatt is 1,000,000 watts. A watt is the standard unit of power. (See below for a deﬁnition of Watt.)
Outage An outage is when part of the network is switched off. This can be either planned (when work needs to be done on the line) or unplanned (a system fault caused by storms).
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Increasing capability on the existing electricity grid by building new infrastructure or upgrading existing equipment.
System Operator for Northern Ireland. This organisation is part of the EirGrid Group. It manages, operates and develops the electricity transmission grid in Northern Ireland.
Renewable generation The generation of electricity using renewable energy, such as hydro, wind, solar, tidal and biomass.
Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (Rté) Electricity Transmission System Operator of France. It is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of Europe’s largest electricity grid.
Series Compensation Series compensation is a technology that would allow us to safely and securely put more power on an existing transmission line. It is used to optimise the power ﬂows on the system. In effect, series compensation allows us to get the most out of the existing transmission grid.
Smart Grid An electricity grid that uses information and communication technology and new transmission technology to enable electricity generation and consumption and power ﬂows to be monitored and controlled in real time.
Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA)
Transmission Network or Grid This is the network of around 6,800 km of high-voltage power lines, cables and substations across Ireland. It links generators of electricity to the distribution network and supplies large demand customers. It is operated by EirGrid and owned by the ESB.
SEA is an environmental assessment process for plans and programmes.
Individual projects are subject to their own assessments – outside of the SEA process. Some projects fall under a class of development requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In these situations, we submit an Environmental Impact Statement to the relevant planning authority.
Voltage is a measure of the potential strength of the ﬂow of electricity – similar to ‘pressure’ in a water system. Voltage is the measure of electrical charge or potential between two points (in an electrical ﬁeld) such as between the positive and negative ends of a battery. The greater the voltage, the greater the potential ﬂow of electrical current.
A set of electrical equipment used to interlink circuits and change the voltage being sent down a line or cable.
Transmission line A high-voltage power line running at 400 kV, 220 kV or 110 kV on the Irish transmission system. The high-voltage allows delivery of bulk power over long distances with minimal power loss.
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A watt is the standard unit of power in the International System of Units (SI). A watt measures the rate at which energy is produced or consumed. For example, a high-watt electrical appliance will consume more energy than a low-watt appliance.
Transmission System 400, 275, 220 and 110 kV September 2016
400 kV Line
Double 275 kV Line
Single 220 kV Line Double 220 kV Line
110 kV Line
Dundalk Louth Castlebar
220 kV Cable
110 kV Cable
400 kV Station
275 kV Station
110 kV Station
Electricity Generation Connected to the Transmission Grid
Hydro Generation Pumped Storage Generation
220 kV Station
Finglas Dublin Poolbeg
Wind Generation Macroom Bandon Dunmanway
Antrim Belfast Central Lisburn
Cork Harbour Whitegate
The Oval, 160 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin D04 FW28 • Telephone: 01 677 1700 • www.eirgrid.com