Ireland’s electricity market is under pressure with the news that a yellow alert has been issued for the second day in a row.
The yellow alarm serves as a warning signal and indicates that the amount of power currently available is less than would be required to meet demand. Here’s what it all means:
What is causing this?
The growth of data centers in recent years has increased the demand for electricity, putting supply at risk.
Low wind speeds as a result of persistent heat across the country also means less wind power is available.
Eirgrid, the national grid operator, said the yellow warning was issued in response to “tight margins in the electricity system”.
“The warning means that the buffer between electricity demand and available supply is currently smaller than optimal. It doesn’t indicate a power outage for customers,” Eirgrid said.
Reasons for this system alert also include “limited power imports and forced outages at a number of generators.”
“A little over a third of conventional generation is currently unavailable out of a total capacity of 6.3 gigawatts,” it said.
How close are we to power outages?
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) introduced restrictions on access to the national grid amid fears of power outages due to data center power loads.
Ireland may be forced to limit electricity consumption to prevent blackouts during the winter months if emergency generators are not brought on time.
Energy expert Don Moore said Ireland was the “worst prepared country in Europe” for an energy crisis.
“I would hope that we could make it through the winter, but the consequences of a power outage in our system, even if it were a small chance, would be catastrophic,” he told the Business Post.
What advice should people follow?
Homeowners and businesses are advised to reduce their energy consumption whenever possible. Retrofitting can also help reduce consumption as it aims to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
Ireland also needs to increase the amount of renewable energy supply to avoid the risk of disruption.
https://www.independent.ie/news/explainer-what-is-an-amber-alert-on-electricity-supplies-41904405.html Explainer: What is a yellow alert in power supplies?