January 11, 2021

Demand Response Customers Helping to Stabilise the Irish Power System

5 min reading

On three occasions last week, Ireland’s power system came under severe pressure,  and an amber alert was issued.  An amber alert is a call to the market to signal that power cuts are an increased possibility and may occur if a large generator was to have an outage.  This alert is rare and is not issued in haste.   EirGrid had to take several exceptional actions, including calling upon demand response providers to support the grid.  This brought into action a range of industrial and commercial customers that reduced their demand on the grid as required, thereby providing a vital safety net to the power system to help correct system imbalances. 

For this, we thank you. 


Power demands and stability are dependent on a culmination of factors. Wind energy plays a central role on the all-island power system,  generating more than 30% of annual electricity demands.  Other factors include the season and the time of day, with peak demands on the Irish electricity system typically occurring during the early evening, around 5-7 pm, during cold winter weather.

Actual System Demand vs. Actual Wind Generation

Source: https://smartgriddashboard.eirgrid.com/

This situation can be further exacerbated if the Irish power system is not able to draw on support from its interconnection (1,000 MW total capacity) to the mainland GB power system, and/or if one or more large power stations are forced offline for maintenance or repair.

Cause for dispatch: Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th, and Friday 8th January 2021

Conditions in the first week of January 2021 posed a major challenge to ensuring adequate supply to meet demand on the all-island power system, driven by:

Our Demand Response customers played a key role in vital grid support

Demand response providers made a significant contribution to the grid at a time of instability, avoiding a potential shortfall of supply with the risk of leading to potential blackouts. This is especially important due to the significantly increased challenges faced by COVID- 19 and the critical role the power system plays in supporting other essentials services such as the health care system.

We are appreciative of the support of all of the industrial and commercial clients that made this possible. We want to thank you for your participation in Demand Response, making a significant positive contribution to the power system in its time of need in partnership with VIOTAS.  

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