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Ireland: Where wind power is king
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 10 March 2008 11:26

 Ireland: Where wind power is king

March 10, 2008 4:00 AM PDT
Posted by Michael Kanellos
 C/Net news
DUBLIN, Ireland--It's easier here than in most industrialized nations to green the electrical grid.

Peak demand for electricity in the Republic of Ireland comes to about 5,000 megawatts, Graham Brennan, program manager for renewable-energy research and development at Sustainable Energy Ireland, the government's green-technology arm, said in an interview in SEI's Dublin offices. The peak occurred last December, at 4,907 megawatts.

Studies show that onshore and offshore wind turbines located in the republic could deliver approximately 5,000 megawatts of power over both parts of the island, he added. This figure takes into account only sites where it would be somewhat practical to put wind turbines, wind speeds, the geography, and the transmission grid. If Northern Ireland is counted, the figure jumps to 6,000 megawatts. In all, the wind blowing over the island contains 8,000 megawatts of power.

"There is enough onshore-accessible wind for about 100 percent of our electricity requirements," he said. "In terms of our accessible resources, the biggest and most successful so far is wind."

The blustery situation has created a rush toward wind in the nation. The Republic of Ireland already has installed about 800 megawatts worth of wind turbines, and wind park developers have or are expected to file applications to put an additional 3,700 megawatts worth of wind onto the grid. The government will likely surpass its goal of having 1,200 megawatts of wind by 2010. (Ireland's ultimate goal is to get 33 percent to 42 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, a fairly high figure for an industrialized nation.)

While most of the turbines are located on land, developers are also looking at offshore wind, similar to the Arklow Bank park developed by General Electric and Airtricity. Tidal-power companies are also receiving a lot of attention. [C/net news]   [Comments...]

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