Doubling renewables capacity to help Ireland meet 2050 net-zero goal

Findings from Cornwall Insight’s ‘All-Island forward curve’ – a comprehensive market and asset-level power price modelling service – shows that Ireland will need to more than double its renewable capacity over the next 25 years if it is to meet net-zero emissions by 2050.

The below table shows how much additional capacity by technology type is required to meet the net-zero emissions targets by 2050.

Niall Durham, a Senior Consultant at Cornwall Insight, said: “The latest forecast from Cornwall Insight reflects how ambitious the Irish net-zero targets are and how it is set to redefine the shape of the future power market.

“Our analysis also shows that a system dominated by 12 GW of renewable generation will require 5GW battery storage to operate. To obtain such capacity, it will require further incentive through programmes such as DS3 to ensure the system has the required flexibility to run at 95% System Non-Synchronous Penetration (SNSP).

“The increase in renewables generation along with new interconnectors (North-South and Green Link) will relieve the adequacy of supply issues mid-2020s. This, in turn, will see a fall in wholesale electricity prices over the second half of this decade.

“Pricing volatility is here to stay and likely to be an enduring feature of the market. The prospect of lower and more volatile prices creates uncertainty for those investing in “subsidy-free” or merchant capacity and will need to be considered in Ireland’s plans.

“To incorporate the amount of renewables needed to meet net zero targets, there will need to be a rethink in a lot of areas in Ireland’s policy as a matter of urgency.”