Tomorrow's Energy Scenarios

Planning Ireland's Energy Future

At EirGrid, one of our roles is to make sure that the electricity transmission grid is ready for the future. To this end, we developed four possible scenarios which consider how electricity may be generated and used years from now - and what this means for the electricity grid of today. We called this "Planning for Ireland’s Energy Future."

Collaboration

A key part of this process was examining a range of ways that energy use may change. We gathered data and worked closely with stakeholders to understand the possible energy futures, and to propose solutions for any problems we found. This allowed us to plan for more than one potential impact, rather than basing our plans on just one assumption. This makes the grid stronger and more flexible.

We worked and collaborated with government departments, government agencies, and energy research groups. In particular, we received strong support from two government departments: The Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation.

Scenarios

We first published draft scenarios in February 2017 as part of a nine week consultation on our energy future. This nine week consultation ran from February to April. During May and June we analysed the feedback from the consultation, which allowed us to shape the final scenarios published at the end of July.

Each scenario describes a different possible future for the generation and consumption of electricity out to 2040.

You can read our final consultation report here and the accompanying summary report here.

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.

Continuing the Conversation

In autumn 2017, we will be publishing ‘Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 Locational Information Paper’ to provide more information on our locational assumptions for future electricity demand and supply.

If you have any queries in relation to our Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017 publication please contact scenarios@eirgrid.com.