Published 31 May 2018
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has published its latest findings on Ireland's progress towards meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets. Based on current trajectories, Ireland is on course to miss its targets. The deficit in respect of the overall EU target of 16 per cent of gross final consumption of energy from renewable energy sources is anticipated to be 2.7 per cent. The National Renewable Energy Action Plan prepared by Ireland pursuant to Directive 2009/28/EC notes that the overall target will be achieved by drawing on contributions from renewable energy in each of three sectors: electricity, transport; and heating. Thus, in the electricity sector, in 2020 40 per cent of electricity used must be from renewable sources (RES-E Target). The SEAI projected 2020 outcome for this sub-target is 37.3 per cent. If the RES-E Target is to be met, then renewable electricity generation needs to increase at a rate of over 11 per cent per annum, and if this increase is to be entirely drawn from onshore wind energy, it will require an annual build rate of between 300 MW and 350 MW of new installed wind generation capacity. Achieving this level of new capacity seems highly improbable, and Ireland will more than likely miss its RES-E Target. This paper considers whether Ireland's approach to electricity network unbundling has held back the rate of new wind farm commissioning in Ireland and contributed to the uncertain pursuit of Ireland's 2020 renewable energy targets.
This paper will be included in the upcoming OGEL Special Issue on "Energy Law and Regulation in Low-carbon and Transitional Energy Markets". More information here www.ogel.org/news.asp?key=564