The deployment of wind energy has been the biggest success story of Ireland’s decarbonisation thus far, with approximately 26% of electricity generated coming from this source in 2017. This is only the end of the beginning—a good foundation for the ultimate objective of complete power system decarbonisation. In this policy brief, we assess recent developments with a view to contributing to the debate on the power shift that will occur in the period to 2030. Under current Government proposals, our key findings are:
- The pace of power system decarbonisation is likely to be slow over the coming decade because of an over-emphasis on controlling the Public Service Obligation (PSO) Levy. The increase in PSO required for renewables has not resulted in escalating electricity bills up to now, as is often assumed, and a greater pace of renewables deployment could in fact result in lower electricity prices by 2030.
- There is a robust proposal to promote energy democracy. Opportunities for local communities to collectively develop wind and solar PV projects, and for households to invest in rooftop solar PV, are likely to feature prominently. For citizen energy to work in practice, however, there is a need to promote awareness and up-skilling of communities, and for persistent policy attention over the next decade.
- Technological diversity is likely to remain low, and the dependence on on-shore wind for power system decarbonisation is likely to persist in the immediate future.