The risk of winter blackouts in Ireland has doubled, the EU agency warns

Risks to Ireland’s electricity system have doubled this winter, according to an EU electricity regulator.

Reland faces up to 14.56 hours without electricity this winter if no attempts are made to curb demand, the European Association for the Cooperation of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) said in its winter forecast report.

The number has increased from 6.25 hours in ENTSO-E’s October report.

If the Irish cut peak-time energy use by 5 percent, the risk of blackouts would drop to 9.25 hours, although “significant risks” remain, it said.

This means that Ireland has the second highest risk in Europe, after France, in terms of ‘system adequacy’ – whether electricity supply is sufficient to meet demand.

Adequacy risks were also identified in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Malta and Cyprus, with risks increasing in January and February.

“Adequacy in Ireland and Northern Ireland is increased due to aging conventional gas-fired power plants, which have poor reliability and frequent unplanned outages,” the outlook reads.

“Nevertheless, there is significant wind generation and when wind conditions are good, adequacy issues should be avoided.”

The report revealed that Ireland’s electricity system has gone into a “state of alert” seven times since last winter, meaning there was a “reasonable possibility” of outages.

Disruptions in nuclear power generation in France, Finland or Sweden and problems with coal supplies in Germany or Poland could also affect Ireland, the report says.

Outage estimates are well below forecasts by EirGrid, Ireland’s energy grid operator.

According to EirGrid’s Winter Outlook released in October, Irish consumers will face 51 hours of outages during the five-month winter period.

That means individual customers could face an average of four hours without power in winter, EirGrid said.

Last winter, the estimated shortage – or “load expectation failure” – was 17.4 hours.

The standard is eight hours per year. The risk of winter blackouts in Ireland has doubled, the EU agency warns

Fry Electronics Team

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