Electricity consumption hit a record high in Ireland on Tuesday as freezing temperatures caused demand to surpass all previous highs.
Sage reached 5,504 megawatts, beating the previous record of 5,363 megawatts set in December last year.
It is the third year in a row that demand has broken records.
A record set in 2010 and held until December 2020 when it increased to 5,112 megawatts.
“We had a new all-time record for electricity demand in Ireland yesterday,” said an Eirgrid spokesman.
“At 5:30 p.m. on a very cold day, demand rose to 5,504 megawatts.
“This surpasses the previous record of 5,363 megawatts from December 2021.”
Eirgrid warned at the start of the winter that electricity would be very tight this winter due to a shortage of power generation facilities following the closure of several old power stations.
Back-up generators are being procured while plans are being made to build longer-term facilities, but these will not be in place until next winter.
Engineers have been close to issuing a “yellow alert,” or system alert, for the past few days, telling all electric utilities that power generation is very close to maximum capacity, leaving little room for a sudden plant outage or additional surge in demand.
The government has announced that major industrial users will be asked to initially scale back activities when supplies become critical to ensure essential services and households are spared any disruption.
The supply would be particularly vulnerable to a “perfect storm” of a prolonged cold spell, low winds for renewable electricity and a disruption in gas supplies from the UK to gas-fired generation assets.
Two of these factors were present over the last week, with wind energy falling below 10 percent of supply, although winds have picked up over the last day.
Ever since the gas crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, there have been concerns about the reliability of the UK gas supply chain.
Environment and Energy Secretary Eamon Ryan said he spoke to his British counterpart last week and will meet him next Sunday when Britain rejoins the North Sea Energy Cooperation Alliance, which it left after Brexit.
“The demand is very high and the wind has been very low, but at the moment the system is stable and we have sufficient power,” he said.
He said nothing is certain, and if a power plant were to fail, meeting electricity demands would be a challenge.
He said the UK’s return to the North Sea Alliance is very significant for energy cooperation among all countries in the region.
“We had a good relationship with Britain and after next Sunday it will be even better,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/electricity-use-at-record-high-as-demand-soars-in-big-freeze-42218785.html Electricity consumption at record high as demand rises in the great freeze