Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
72. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he or his Department has been notified of all energy supply traffic light warnings; if so, when those warnings were issued over the past 12 months to date in tabular form; the cause of the individual alert; and if there was a tailored mitigation plan put in place for each alert. [53562/21]
There have been seven system alerts (previously know as amber alerts) on the electricity system in Ireland in the past 12 months. These occurred on 9 December 2020, 6 January 2021, 13 April 2021, 17 May 2021, 6 September 2021, 9 September 2021 and 28 October 2021. EirGrid notified my Department of each of these system alerts on the day they occurred.
There have been no system emergencies (previously known as red alerts) on the system in Ireland in the past 12 months or in recent years.
The system alert on 13 April 2021 related to the temporary failure of some of the systems in EirGrid's control centre. This failure occurred during the testing of backup systems and was quickly resolved. The other six system alerts were due to reduced margin between the level of electricity generation and demand.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (the CRU) has statutory responsibility to monitor and take measures necessary to ensure the security of electricity supply in Ireland. On Wednesday 29 September the CRU published an information note setting out the programme of actions being progressed to ensure security of electricity supply. The actions include:
- increasing the availability of existing generators;
- developing of new generation capacity – including temporary generation capacity in advance of winter 2022;
- extending the operational life of some existing generators;
- new rules for the grid connection of data centres; and
- actions to enhance demand-side response, including large consumers reducing demand when the system margin is low.
My Department and EirGrid are working closely with the CRU to implement their programme of actions in order to ensure the security of electricity supply.