A professor at Queen’s University in Belfast has calculated that Irish consumers could save more than €400 a year on their electricity bills if the government decides to waive the annual daylight saving time switch at the end of next month.
Oife Foley, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who specializes in clean energy research, has estimated Irish people would save €1.28 a day if they had brighter evenings this winter when the clocks aren’t on would be set back by one hour on the last Sunday in October.
While the EU has been deliberating for years on whether to ditch the annual time shift, Ms Foley said we are now in an “energy war” and this administrative solution to reducing electricity demand around the 5pm peak time will drastically reduce demand would Irish mains.
“By simply forgoing Daylight Saving Time (DST) in October, we save energy because there are lighter evenings in winter, so we reduce commercial and residential electricity demands as people get off work earlier and go home earlier walking, which means less lighting and heating is required,” said Ms Foley.
“In Europe we are no longer in an energy crisis, but in an energy war. Given Gazprom’s shutdown of Nord Stream 1, it’s very likely that we need to start energy rationing very seriously to avoid major energy problems in December and January when gas reserves run out if supplies from Russia don’t resume .”
Ms Foley calculated that an average three bedroom household would save €1.28 per day in energy bills and €467 per year through brighter and warmer evenings.
“There is no doubt that by skipping daylight saving time in winter we would save a lot of energy, reduce our bills and reduce carbon emissions during this energy war,” she said. The professor calculated that this would flatten the ‘evening peak’ curves of energy demand by up to 10 percent when commercial demand is factored in.
During the evening energy peaks between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., EirGrid can struggle to balance the power system. Ms Foley’s calculations don’t include gas savings or the commercial or industrial sectors, but she says if they were included “there would be even more significant energy, cost and emissions reductions”.
EirGrid has warned that it cannot guarantee there will be no blackouts this winter.
“We need to reduce our energy consumption and as my calculations show we can save about 2.6 TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity in the household sector alone, which could be equivalent to 400 million euros with the new October 2022 electricity tariffs,” Ms Foley said.
“This could equate to about 0.5 percent of national emissions using only the existing meters in people’s homes, with some small personal efficiencies when using larger household appliances.”
Ms Foley said she was aware of objections to the abolition of daylight saving time from various groups, including farmers and road safety campaigners, but said she believed brighter evenings would have a net positive effect on society as a whole.
She wants the Irish government to consult with their British counterparts on an emergency proposal to end daylight saving time this year.
The Department for Environment, Climate and Communications referred inquiries to the Department of Justice as to whether the government would consider such a move in light of the energy crisis. Ireland was said to be party to an EU-wide agreement and polls showed that the Irish would not support a change that would result in two different time zones on the island of Ireland (linked to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU).
The state has requested that a full impact assessment of the proposal be carried out before final decisions are taken at EU level.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/time-for-change-not-turning-clocks-back-can-save-us-467-a-year-on-energy-bills-expert-claims-41959757.html time for a change? “If we don’t turn back the clocks, we can save €467 a year in energy costs,” claims the expert