The power system of Ireland and Northern Ireland is currently operating at high penetrations of wind never previously experienced on the island.

There are already sufficient installed windfarms to meet over 18% of the annual electricity consumption. The current and expected 2020 level (37%) of wind penetration across the island is, and will continue to be, greater than any other synchronous region in Europe over this timeframe.

To meet this situation the TSOs: Eirgrid and SONI have developed a comprehensive programme (DS3) including: management of system frequency response (to deal with a 25% reduction in synchronous inertia); increase in ramping capabilities to meet growing variability and uncertainty in energy sources; reactive power management to deal with system voltage control; and close management of grid code requirements (e.g. contracted level of primary operating reserve during low frequency disturbances).

Currently the TSOs can securely manage the system provided that the System Non-Synchronous Penetration (SNSP) level in real-time operations remains below 50%.  The Success of the DS3 programme, will lead to an unprecedented SNSP level of 75%.  This, together with the planned grid infrastructure investment, will enable Ireland to meet its challenging target of 40% renewable electricity by 2020.

Data collated from information submitted to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan by EU Member States to the EU Commission in June 2010