Ireland has the second highest risk of winter blackouts in the EU

Ireland faces up to 6.25 hours without power this winter, an EU agency estimates, the second highest in the Union after France.

The country could face “systemic stress” as early as November or December, the European Association for the Cooperation of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) said on Thursday.

But a 5 per cent reduction in electricity use at peak times could reduce risks in Ireland “well below” acceptable levels and a 10 per cent reduction would “substantially reduce” risks.

ENTSO-E’s estimate is much lower than Eirgrid’s most recent estimate, which put the figure at a potential 51 hours of outage over the five-month winter period.

Last winter, the estimated shortfall – or “load of loss estimated” – was 17.4 hours. The standard is eight hours per year.

Eirgrid, which manages the flow of electricity around the island, said in its winter outlook that individual customers could be without electricity for an average of four hours during the winter.

It said the electricity system could go into a “state of alert” at times due to calm winds and lower imports from the UK, and could go into a “state of emergency” if not enough electricity was generated to meet demand.

However, the ENTSO-E report says that a 5 per cent reduction in electricity use at peak times could reduce risks in Ireland “well below” acceptable levels, while a 10 per cent reduction per hour would “substantially reduce” risks.

In France, individual customers have to go without electricity for up to 26 hours in winter due to the low level of nuclear energy production.

Risks were also identified in Malta and Cyprus. Apart from Ireland, Cyprus is the only other EU country that has no energy connections to mainland Europe.

Norway and Sweden are also facing outages with no cuts in energy consumption, the report says.

It comes after the European Commission unveiled a raft of proposals this week to try to stem high gas and electricity prices and share stockpiles in the event of a full disruption to Russia’s pipeline gas.

It pledged “strong coordination” with non-EU countries on gas purchases and said the EU will “ensure that a member state in distress gets gas from the others for fair compensation”, including EU members , the “about a third country”.

Ireland gets most of its gas from the UK. Gas was Ireland’s most important source of electricity last year.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Thursday that Europe “as a whole” faces “very serious problems” from the energy crisis as it impacts industries and manufacturing and raises competition issues with the US and China.

He attended an EU summit in Brussels hitherto dominated by the energy crisis, with disagreements deepening over whether and how a gas price cap should be introduced.

He said Ireland will also push for “security of supply” and any decisions that are made cannot affect energy supplies.

“From our point of view, too, security of supply is of crucial importance,” said Martin.

“Whatever action is taken, let’s say, national circumstances must be taken into account, but they must not specifically address insecurity of supply.” Ireland has the second highest risk of winter blackouts in the EU

Fry Electronics Team

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