Evolution of Shaping Our Electricity Future
The Shaping Our Electricity Future roadmap is an ongoing transformative journey approach steering Ireland's energy landscape towards a cleaner, more sustainable future in line with national, European and UK targets. Starting over a decade ago with the DS3 Programme, Shaping Our Electricity Future (SOEF) is an ongoing evolution reflecting our commitment to progress and collaborate across industry, government, and citizens as we move towards a greener energy and electricity power system.
In response to binding national and European targets, EirGrid Group began a multi-year programme, “Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System” (DS3).
Ireland’s EU target was for 16% of the country’s total energy consumption (across heating, transport and electricity) to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. In order to achieve the 16% target for energy, we aimed for 40% of electricity to come from renewable sources on the island of Ireland by 2020.
A big focus of the DS3 programme was increasing the capability of the Transmission System Operators (EirGrid and SONI) to operate increasing volumes of renewable power (non-synchronous generation) in a safe and secure manner. Over the decade, we have been able to deliver on our targets. This includes:
- Enabling over 43% of electricity production to stem from renewable energy sources in 2020.
- Achieving a world-first by increasing instantaneous renewable generation levels from 50% to 75%.
- Successfully concluding the Rate of Change of Frequency (RoCoF) trial and moving to a limit set at +/- 1 Hz/s
Shaping Our Electricity Future 1.0
Fast forward to November 2021 and new renewable targets set out by governments for 2030 were considered in the development and launch of Shaping Our Electricity Future (SOEF) 1.0. This published document, following extensive consultation with industry, citizens and governments, outlined a roadmap towards at least 70% renewable electricity by 2030 while considering net zero targets for 2050.
We considered the impacts of ageing infrastructure, the retirement and displacement of fossil fuel generators, an increase in renewable energy supply and storage, a rise in demand from large energy users and distribution connected customers, the social impacts of electricity infrastructure and a change in consumer preferences, behaviours, and expectations of their electricity supply.
Taking into account several scenarios, the roadmap encapsulated a whole of system approach across workstreams including Network Infrastructure, Engagement, System Operations and Markets Operations to enable the targets set out.
Shaping Our Electricity Future 1.1
Since the launch of SOEF 1.0, there have been significant developments to electricity policy at European level, in the United Kingdom and in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The result has been a shift change in the targets set with the aim of up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030 and further definition of sectoral carbon emission reductions in Ireland.
Given these changing targets, we have revised the Roadmap to SOEF Version 1.1 outlining a pathway towards meeting the enhanced government electricity ambitions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It aims to do this in a manner which balances technical considerations, cost implications, environmental impacts, social acceptance, and deliverability. It also provides a foundation to support the broader transition to net zero by 2050.
Looking Beyond 2030
EirGrid and SONI recognise 2030 is a milestone on the ultimate journey to a net zero energy system. To that end, we have commenced development of the next iteration of Tomorrows Energy Scenarios – this will consider credible pathways for the evolution of the power system in 2035, 2040 and 2050. A consultation on Tomorrows Energy Scenarios, which will be benchmarked against energy scenario developments in other jurisdictions, will take place in summer 2023.
EirGrid and SONI are also working with colleagues around Europe on the evolution of offshore energy systems to 2050. EU countries have agreed on new, ambitious long-term goals for the deployment of offshore renewable energy up to 2050 in each of the EU’s five sea basins, with intermediate objectives to be achieved by 2030 and 2040. These agreements build on strong regional cooperation instruments and tools established by the revised Regulation on trans-European energy networks (TEN-E Regulation).
The Shaping Our Electricity Future roadmap will be updated approximately every two years, in response to the latest technology, economic, policy and system developments. We will continue to work together with governments and regulators and in consultation with industry stakeholders and the public, in making our energy system safe, affordable, secure, reliable and sustainable. It should be noted the anchor year for the analysis may change from 2030.