A new report claims that wind power will deliver £217m of savings to Irish energy consumers by 2020.
The study, commissioned by the Irish Wind Energy Association and carried out by consultants Redpoint Energy, found that an 11.5% reduction in wholesale electricity prices will be achieved through delivering 45% of the overall generation mix from wind by 2020.
The study reveals that wind generation is already having a significant impact on energy costs, with the total savings to consumers set to reach £31m this year. Wind energy currently accounts for approximately 12% of Ireland’s electricity needs.
“Our analysis shows that increased levels of wind generation will displace coal and gas-fired generation, and reduce the costs of electricity production,” said Phil Grant, director of Redpoint Energy.
“Wholesale energy prices, and therefore costs to consumers, fall as the volume of wind energy increases. Although renewables generation in Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, require a subsidy from the consumer, on the basis of the commodity prices assumed in this analysis, the reduction in consumer costs is greater than the subsidy paid. If oil, gas and coal prices actually turn out to be higher than assumed in the analysis the relative savings to the consumer from having wind on the system could well be even greater.”
The Irish Wind Energy Association’s chief executive Michael Walsh said, “This report demonstrates that wind generation does not add cost in today’s market, nor indeed in the future. In fact, it reduces the cost of generating electricity plus the price to the end user.
“In simple terms, meeting our renewable energy targets will result in lower prices, lower emissions, greater fuel security and the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs. We now call on the government to introduce a co-ordinated energy and enterprise implementation plan to ensure we capture our share of these new European industries.”
He added: “Given the current unrest in Libya and other oil-rich nations across the Middle East, the report is a timely reminder of not only the need, but the value in, developing our excellent natural energy resource. It shows that wind will save consumers money in the event that oil prices remain stable but will, crucially, save them even more if oil prices were to increase. Therefore, it enables the consumer to hedge against inevitable oil price increases.”