At EirGrid, one of our roles is to plan the development of the electricity transmission grid to meet the future needs of society. Key to this process is considering the range of possible ways that energy usage may change in the period from 2017 out to 2040. We call this scenario planning.
In 2017 EirGrid introduced scenario planning as a way of developing the electricity grid so that it continues to support Ireland's economic growth and expanding population in the face of an uncertain future.
In March 2018, EirGrid launched Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locations Consultation, the second in a series of three reports to be completed by the end of 2018.
The first report, Tomorrow Energy Scenarios 2017, was published in July 2017 and outlined four different energy scenarios out to 2040 that will help EirGrid develop the electricity grid in an efficient manner.
The four scenarios take into account uncertainties regarding future demand for electricity, and the technology used to generate that electricity. Access the first Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Report here and the accompanying summary report here. You can also read more about the scenarios below.
Renewable electricity generation maintains a steady pace of growth. This is due to steady improvements in the economy, and in the technologies which generate electricity. New household technologies help to make electricity consumers more energy aware. This increases energy efficiency in homes and businesses. Over time, electricity consumers gradually begin to make greater use of electric vehicles and heat pumps. This means that, over time, electricity powers a larger proportion of transportation and heating.
The economy experiences very slow growth. Investment in new renewable generation is only in established, low risk technologies. Due to poor economic growth, new technologies that could increase the use of renewable generation at household and large scale levels are not adopted. Overall there is little change in the way electricity is generated when compared to today. Domestic consumers and commercial users are also avoiding risk and uncertainty. The only source of demand growth is the connection of new data centres but the level of investment slows down significantly after 2025.
The economy enjoys high economic growth. This encourages the creation and rollout of new technologies for low carbon electricity generation. There is strong public demand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to high carbon prices and incentives for renewables, this creates a high level of renewable generation on the grid. This clean energy then combines with improvements to broadband and transport to drive growth in large data centres.
A strong economy leads to high levels of consumer spending ability. The public want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity consumers enthusiastically limit their energy use and generate their own energy. This results in a large number of community led energy projects and a rapid adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps in the home.
Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locations Consultation, launched in March 2018, follows on from Tomorrow's Energy Scenarios 2017, and is the second in a series of three reports examining Ireland’s future energy needs.
This new report proposes assumptions about where various demand, generation, storage and interconnection technologies may connect in the future. Modelling future locations in this way enables us to identify potential areas of stress on the network requiring further investigation.
We have used Ireland’s regions to present our locations in a concise and consistent way. Specifically, we have taken electricity demand, electricity supply and interconnection figures presented in Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 and disaggregated these by region.
We have sought feedback on our Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locations Consultation, which you can access here. This consultation ran until 11 May 2018.
Feedback received as part of this consultation will be used to develop the final Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locations Report, which will be published in Summer 2018.
As part of our locations consultation, our scenario planning team hosted a webinar. This event was co-hosted by Engineers Ireland and was broadcast online on Wednesday 4 April 2018. It is possible to watch the event back below.
We take a cyclic approach to scenario development. Involving our stakeholders in the development cycle is key to ensuring continuous improvement of our scenarios.
The Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locations Consultation is phase three of the current development cycle. Feedback received as part of this consultation will be used to develop the final Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locations Report, which will be published in Summer 2018. This report will detail finalised assumptions and methods relating to our future locations.
The Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 System Needs Assessment report will conclude the current scenario development cycle.
Our scenarios and their portfolios will be not be revised as part of this locations consultation. However, our scenario development cycle will begin again in Spring 2019. We will engage with our stakeholders throughout our Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2019 scenario development process.