Member Country Activities for Ireland
Good progress was made in constructing new wind farms to meet national targets in 2014, with 270 MW of new capacity being added, the highest annual installation rate to date. The continued strong growth in capacity resulted in the wind energy contribution to electricity demand in 2014 increasing to 18.3%—an increase of 13% over 2013. Wind energy provides the dominant share of the 22.6% total renewable energy contribution to electricity demand. This increase was achieved despite a below average annual aggregate wind plant capacity factor of 28.7%
With market uncertainties around wind production curtailment having been addressed in 2012, developers are seeking to execute projects in time to meet support scheme deadlines.
Wind farm project economics continued to improve in Ireland in 2014 due to falling wind turbine prices internationally, although unfavorable Euro exchange rate trends from mid-2014 may begin to counteract this benefit.
Several challenges to future development of the wind energy sector emerged or grew in 2014. The proposed implementation of the ISEM—modified electricity market arrangements to conform to the EU Target Market Model—may disadvantage small independent wind power plants and wind farms that have exited support schemes. Disquiet among potential host communities for new wind farm developments and their elected representatives increased in 2014. Increasing numbers of judicial reviews were granted of the planning appeals board’s decisions in favor of wind farm developments with some decisions being overturned.