Mon, 30th Aug 2021

Electricity supply interruptions are forecasted – Demand Response can help.

Ireland’s grid is under increasing stress. Scarcity of supply and tightness of the grid have sparked recent media coverage of concerns over the ability to meet the country’s electricity needs during times of peak demand this coming winter. With worrying talk of potential blackouts and mandatory curtailment, it’s clear that urgent action is required at a national level.  

Due to two large natural gas power plants being out of service since 2020 and EirGrid’s recently reported decision to cancel the award of 200MW of emergency response generation granted to ESB to build a new plant at Dublin’s North Wall, the role of Demand Response has never been more vital.  

In the past 12 months for example, VIOTAS has grown its Demand Response portfolio from 155MW to 185MW. The additional 30 MW means that electricity supply for up to 30,000 Irish homes can remain secured. By participating in Demand Response, our clients have become integral safeguards in helping Ireland keep the lights on, as well as reducing the amount of CO2 produced on the grid. For this, we thank them.  

But there is still a requirement for more and more large industrial and commercial energy users to take part and support the grid in times of need if the country is to avoid interruptions to electricity supply. When supply is tight, EirGrid first invokes Demand Side Units. Should there not be sufficient capacity available, the next step is curtailing loads of large customers, before the ultimate last step of involuntary load shedding. Nobody wants to get to this point. 

As more large energy users participate in Demand Response, more capacity becomes available to the grid operator in times of need. This also reduces the potential likelihood of involuntary load shedding, which would negatively impact all affected by it. Demand Response also gives businesses an opportunity to get paid for taking part, as well as futureproof their operations to handle any potential future curtailments of electricity. 

VIOTAS CEO Paddy Finn says “Ultimately it makes business sense to participate in Demand Response when the power system is experiencing shortages as it is prudent to mitigate the risk to your operations by voluntarily reducing electricity consumption by suitable services to limit the risk of having power involuntarily cut to all services.”  

If you’d like to understand how your business can become part of the solution, our team is on standby to support