Electricity transmission needs investment, says Codling director

Arno Verbeek warns on national grid’s capacity to handle surge in renewable projects

Renewables accounted for 36 per cent of all electricity used in the Republic last year, a record likely to be surpassed in 2020.

Renewables accounted for 36 per cent of all electricity used in the Republic last year, a record likely to be surpassed in 2020.

 

Ireland’s electricity grid needs urgent investment to handle the increasing number of green energy projects due to begin generating power in coming years, a leading industry figure warned.

Codling Bank Wind Park, a partnership of French giant EDF and Norway’s Fred Olsen, has appointed Arno Verbeek as director of the €1 billion-plus project 13km from the Wicklow coast.

Following his appointment, Mr Verbeek said fears were growing about the national grid’s capacity to handle the large number of renewable developments, including Codling, that were likely to begin generating electricity this decade.

“The transmission system is struggling to cope with the rising levels of renewable energy projects under development and it is clear the grid requires urgent reinforcement as more renewable energy projects like ours need a grid connection,” he warned.

Offshore system

Michele Schiavone, EDF Renewables director for Ireland and offshore, echoed Mr Verbeek’s concerns and added that the joint venture also wanted progress on a new offshore planning system, promised by the Government.

David Martin, spokesman for Eirgrid, the State company responsible for Ireland’s electricity grids, north and south, said that the organisation worked to ensure the system could carry as much renewable energy as possible.

He pointed out that renewables accounted for 36 per cent of all electricity used in the Republic last year, a record likely to be surpassed in 2020.

Mr Martin explained that the company did this by making the best use of its assets, building new infrastructure and using proven technology to minimise the need for new construction.

Policy goal

“Looking to 2030, we are developing a plan, on behalf of the Government, to ensure that the policy goal of renewables accounting for 70 per cent of electricity consumption can be achieved,” he said.

“We will be formally launching a consultation on this plan by the end of the year.”

Mr Verbeek spent nine years working in the Republic for Airtricity and SSE Renewables Ireland.

He joins Codling Bank from Diamond Generating Europe, a Dutch subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, which owns wind farms in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, where he was technical director.